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11: Corzetti Pasta at Corner Table

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Every day is a special occasion at Corner Table. The care and attention the kitchen puts into the food is a true labor of love, and not the cliched adage that so many producers of things like to say they adhere to.

Chef Thomas Boemer is a big bulldozer of a guy who looks like he could throw his weight behind anything and make it work, and in fact he does; he was recently a general contractor responsible for the dramatic makeover of the original Corner Table space. It now looks like a classic Southern fried-chicken house that's been there forever -- in a good way. So it's that much more endearing to envision him fussing over Corzetti Pasta, an Italian grandmother's scrupulous special-occasion treat.

See also: 12: Scallop Cooked and Raw at the Brut Pop-Up

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Kneading and rolling and cutting handmade pasta is one thing, but then embossing it with a stamp is yet another step, one that when done artisanally is done individually by hand, one by one. In its region of origin, northwestern Italy, a Corzetti stamp can be embossed with anything -- go to Genoa and you can probably get them to make you one with your family crest, for all we know.

At Corner Table it's just a sunburst, and of course the design isn't only a pretty picture. Those wily Italians know that a big part of living a good life is about sauce, and creative ways of sallying sauce to mouth. So the grooves that the Corzetti stamp leaves on the pasta let little streams of sauce to settle into them, and then: hooray! More sauce.

The sauce in question here is also a triumph, naturally, an oxtail ragu with so much booming extremity of flavor, the whole of your body softens under its influence. Garnishes of herbaceous sage and Sarvecchio cheese provide salt and crackle.

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