Where to Eat in Italy Contemporary Casual

Exit: Urban Pasta Factory with a Complete First Course Tasting Menu

Martino Lapini
copertina exit pastificio urbano

Pasta is the Best One-Dish Meal: At Exit, Arianna Consiglio Elevates the Timeless Coolness of First Courses that Tell the Playfulness and Memory of Italian Taste.

The venue 

Arianna Consiglio, chef and driving force behind Exit Pastificio Urbano, is proving that a no-carb life is hard to digest. She makes pasta, cooks pasta, serves pasta. Every day. Her face doesn’t show any sign of boredom or mental fatigue from habit. She smiles and makes pasta, simple as that... sorry.

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But don't imagine her as a typical Milanese cook. That's quite a contradiction to even think about. She works in an incredibly organized kitchen that hardly seems lived-in. It's more like a laboratory. Yet, from that "cold" place, dishes emerge that tell the playfulness, the taste memory, the extra comfort zone, grandma's framed photos, the roughness, and timeless coolness of pasta. 

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Pastificio Urbano means taking pasta and embedding it in the most metropolitan context in Italy: Milan. Choose a trendy neighborhood, Porta Romana, and create a "Milanese" venue that resembles a chic bistro. And why not add mixology? Such places are not lacking in Milan. At Pastificio Urbano, it's the driving force that makes the difference. A woman with a quality addiction, flying on flour clouds better than Goku, capable of evoking the most authentic side even in the fanciest customer. Don't expect avant-garde. Instead, expect depth, lightening, and a few twists on the classics.

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The dishes

The first taste is a tribute to Liguria, a time when eggs were too expensive to use in dough every day. So, the triad was only water, flour, and semolina. Plus, the strength of wrists. It's a heartfelt tribute because corzetti is a tricky pasta. Arianna tells us that they are all made and hand-stamped. And they're immediately laid flat to cool; otherwise, they'd stick together, damaging their shape. Corzetti with pesto, pine nuts, walnuts, and marjoram is a mountain pasta that meets the sea. Hearty, one of those "it's so satisfying to chew," yet fresh and fragrant.

exit pastificio urbano corzetti con pesto di pinoli e maggiorana

The stracciatella and roasted cherry tomato ravioli are a testament to perfect execution of filled pasta, with a slightly sticky surface and just the right thickness. The intense savoriness, the sweetness, and the roasted flavor of the tomato are perfect companions for the acidity of stracciatella. From the Graziano pasta factory, which was already used when the menu featured Pipero'smezze maniche carbonara – a glamorous collaboration deserves a nod – come the Fusilloni with red shrimp, lime, and bell pepper. A dish that brings the impending summer and its warmth to your table. But you eat it in the air conditioning, momentarily forgetting the asphalt's impending heat.

exit pastificio urbano fusilloni con crema di peperoni gambero rosso e lime

The first twist arrives with the classic Spaghetti with clams. Benedetto Cavalieri and blessed be the starch and consistency of his spaghetti. What do we mean by lemongrass and sumac clam Spaghetti? Clone yourselves. Sumac adds acidity and salivation, the seafood and its creamy cooking water bring concentrated flavor and pleasure.

exit pastificio urbano spaghetti vongole lemongrass e sommacco

Next comes the double act of agnolotti: napkin Agnolotti and roast gravy Agnolotti. The first were good, but there was a slight implosion due to imperfect moisture management. The pasta's consistency suffered a bit. As for the second, silence descended because they were just that good.

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The penultimate step is the reason there were protests outside the venue on the summer solstice. "Hands off the Milanese spaghetti," "If you remove it from the menu, we won't stand for it." The masses revolt over the Milanese spaghetti and roasted marrow, a dish convention would associate with the fresh and cool season. It's precisely these biased and ideological conventions that rile up the masses.

exit pastificio urbano spaghetti

As you might imagine, it's saffron spaghetti. The marrow is served warm and still within the bone, cut transversely. Scooping out the marrow and mixing it with the spaghetti is an almost sacred gesture. The elevated temperatures create the magic. The circle closes with a Cacio e Pepe Linguine that gave us a bit of a challenge. Not because Rome comes after Milan, but because it was a clash between heavyweights that perhaps shouldn't have been left for the last round. We say this for ourselves.

exit pastificio urbano cacio e pepe

Wine Postscript. Besides the pasta, we also had fun with an alcoholic pairing for each taste. The sommelier's competence and unconventional approach deserve a mention. Here are our notes: After a welcoming glass of Cavalleri Blanc de Blancs, which felt too poised and timidly elegant for us, we move on to Alta Mora Cusumano Etna Rosato 2021. We didn't expect to find Cusumano here; our aversion – no biases – to rosés remains. We're still waiting for the one that will open our eyes.

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Sam Vinciullo Sauvignon Blanc 2020, a macerated wine with notes of brine and Leccino olive paste. It's a powerful drink with acetic acidity, little fruit; an odd pairing with Napkin Agnolotti, although the added savoriness fits. (Out of curiosity, we googled it and found a well-known wine e-commerce site describing it as a wine with strong "artisanal" character, immediately releasing aromas of yellow flowers, citrus, peach jam...") Barbeito Madeira Rainwater Reserva, a pairing that continues the power with the saffron spaghetti. Spice on spice, fat on fat. We're curious to know what contrasting wine the sommelier would choose to create an acidic counterpoint. I didn't know the Bastarda grape variety, a Galician native. In name, but not in reality. Bastarda di Fedellos do Couto 2020 is an explosion of sweet fruit with a hint of pepper. An interesting match with Cacio e Pepe.

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Exit Pastificio Urbano proves that a one-dish meal isn't the sad lunch break with colleagues. It's two pasta dishes. In Arianna's menu, there are several pasta options as first courses and several as second courses. We're waiting for a dessert innovation.


Exit Pastificio Urbano

Via Orti, Via Curtatone, 24, 20122 Milano MI

Tel: 02 3599 9080


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