The Dish: Performance-enhancing pasta

Sorella's spaghetti puttanesca, featuring olives, capers, onions, anchovy, and garlic, is carb-tacular

May 4, 2016

By Eagranie Yuh / Photo: Luis Valdizon

Let’s be honest, folks. Sure, there’s lots to love about the Vancouver Sun Run, from the picturesque route to the bragging rights that come with completing it. But the best thing of all might be the permission it gives you to eat carbs with abandon. And if it’s an epic feast of carbs that you’re after, you can’t do much better than Cambie Village’s Sorella.

The spaghetti puttanesca, in particular, is deceptively simple. Its tomato base can hardly be called a sauce, in that there’s just enough of it to cling to each noodle and transport the finely minced ingredients to your palate—each bite a perfect composition of briny, savoury, sweet, and aromatic. And after you’ve twirled the last perfectly al dente noodle onto your fork, all that remains is a faint slick that’s just enough to swipe with a finger.

Sorella’s name means “sister” in Italian, and it’s easy to see the connection between it and La Buca—which, along with the Sardine Can, is owned and operated by chef Andrey Durbach and his business partner Chris Stewart. But where La Buca specializes in classic regional pastas, Sorella lets loose with Italian- American tradition.

“In the south of Italy you get pastas with tomato sauce and oil; in the north, you typically have a little bit of cream,” Durbach says. “When Italian immigrants went to North America, a new genre of pasta emerged: a mix of tomato sauce and cream, things like penne alla vodka and spaghetti with meatballs.”

Even still, Durbach is adamant about certain traditions, such as bringing in dried spaghetti and penne that has been extruded through brass dies, which affords a coarse texture that helps sauces cling to them. “Certain shapes are supposed to be dried,” he says. “There’s nothing intrinsically better about fresh pasta.”

Sorella is open seven nights a week from 5 pm, closing at 10 pm Monday through Saturday and 9 pm on Sundays. Fans of Pied-à-Terre, which previously occupied the space, will remember the cozy interior—so while walk-ins are welcome, reservations are recommended.

Sorella
3369 Cambie St., 604-873-3131
sorellayvr.com

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