The thing about exercise is – it makes you hungry! Upon completion of the 15 rep torture cycle the fit gym trainer calls my 'workout', I was hungry enough to eat a horse…or…a big bowl of pasta.
When I rounded up my sporty friend Liz to accompany me on this pasta excursion, she added fuel to my pasta fire by informing me that whatever you eat within 90 minutes of working out gets burned off faster!
So we hopped on our bikes (more exercise!) and headed for the end of the city – 20 minutes east of the centre to Yigal Alon street where a new industrial park is quickly sprouting, and also conveniently close to the Azrieli Towers and HaShalom Train Station.
The perfect location for a mid week office worker lunch, this may seem a strange choice for an evening out. But the murmurings about this new little spot serving freshly made pasta were all I needed to inspire a culinary expedition.
Not only does Pasta Presto make fresh pasta on the premises, but they are revolutionizing the industry in Israel by preparing it in sight of the customer. 'We can produce up to 80 kilos of fresh pasta per hour,' says owner Nir, 'and due to the unique nature of our pasta maker, we have permission from the Ministry of Health to keep it up front, where our customers can watch their meals being prepared.'
After 20 years in Paris, Nir, an unlikely restaurateur with a Masters in economics and a decade of sales management at HP under his belt, decided to bring his true love back home to Israel – fresh, fast and top quality pasta!
All too often, fresh pasta made from quality ingredients is limited to fancy languorous restaurant meals, or sporadic bouts of home creativity making good on that too-expensive pasta maker. At Pasta Presto, fresh pasta is given a whole new context.
With their special pasta machine and super high tech pasta cooker to match, Pasta Presto is able to turn out a freshly made piping hot al dente dish every 30 seconds: the ultimate mid-day office meal for a country where lunch is something scarfed down between meetings.
But let's get back to my exercise induced pasta craving. Within 5 minutes of ordering, 2 stunning bowls arrived before us. The first, fusili in mushrooms and cream, the second, (insisted upon by charming manager Shay) fettucini ali olio with sundried tomatoes, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, garlic and parmesan. Both pastas, as promised, were perfectly al dente. The fettucini induced the most divine sensation in the mouth, while the fusili gave great bite – without any of the chewiness that often occurs with dried pasta.
In a world where the term 'fast food' describes chemically processed freeze dried products, it was hard to believe that these fresh wonders had been produced so quickly. Pasta Presto has proven that there need not be any correlation between increased speed and lowered quality – these delicious dishes show us that just the opposite can be true.
Pasta Presto also offers whole wheat pasta (though some nutritional theory holds that durum flour is just as healthy, if not more so), salads, and desserts (which are also lovingly made on site.)
Craving appeased, Liz and I decided to walk our bikes in the direction of home. (Despite pasta's energy providing link to the world of sport, it's probably best to take it slow on a full stomach.) In addition to providing thousands of office workers a ray of gastronomic sunshine in the middle of the day, Pasta Presto has also given me a good reason to look forward to my next round of workout torture.
96 Yigal Alon, Tel Aviv