Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Friday, July 22, 2011

#74: Straw and Hay Pasta at Trattoria Marcella

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

The straw and hay pasta at Trattoria Marcella is a piece of Italian artwork. - ERIKA MILLER
  • Erika Miller
  • The straw and hay pasta at Trattoria Marcella is a piece of Italian artwork.

In a city that boasts an Italian district brimming with toasted ravioli, red wine and tiramisu, Gut Check is no stranger to Italian food, both rustic and refined. And in our humble opinion, not all of the best Italian eats are found on the Hill; some can be found in St. Louis Hills, from the kitchen of Trattoria Marcella (3600 Watson Road; 314-352-7706).

Like everything else at Trattoria Marcella, the straw and hay pasta is beautifully presented, with thick ribbons of egg and spinach noodles topped with the restaurant's signature marinated tomatoes. The combination of mushrooms, prosciutto and peas is a likely trio in Italian cooking, but the straw and hay up the ante. Bright green sugar snap peas add bursts of sweetness to balance the salty, meaty flavor from a hefty portion of coppa ham strips. The coppa ham is slightly chewy and the crimini mushrooms add a smooth, tender texture to the dish.

Tying everything together is a silky, sinful mascarpone cheese sauce. Lighter than your typical cheese sauce and creamier than an alfredo, the mascarpone clings to each ingredient in the pasta. At $13.99, the straw and hay is the cheapest trip to Italy you can take. Savor a twirl of the velvety pasta, wash it down with a sip of rich red wine and close your eyes -- you could be in the south of Italy, not just South St. Louis.

Beginning last year, RFT restaurant critic Ian Froeb counted down -- in no particular order -- 100 of his favorite dishes in St. Louis. Now Gut Check has taken up where he left off. Check back frequently as we detail our 100 favorites, and don't hesitate to send us yours, too, either via the comments thread or at


#75: Spaghetti Pomodoro at Babbo's Spaghetteria #76: Shrimp Fajitas at El Matador #77: Vegetable Quesadilla at Chava's #78: Companion Rustic Olive Bread #79: Salt and Pepper Shrimp from Wei Hong

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation