Often when I eat Italian food out, I am left thinking I could have just made the same dish at home. That’s why I usually go for gnocchi, which seems harder to duplicate at home. Nonetheless, When the wife found a little hole in the wall spot called Luciano’s in Pasadena, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing simply because there was too much on the menu. Not only that, the menu made it seem like everything (pizza, pasta, sandwiches) would be wonderful and that is often a bad sign.
Yet, it turned out to actually be true, at least based on the four meals my people chowed down on. I broke from my typical gnocchi and chose the Cream Penne Pasta Carbonara. It was made with your typical carbonara ingredients of eggs, bacon and olive oil and garlic, but instead of peas, I found parsley on the menu and crossed my fingers in the hopes that there would truly be no peas.
It turned out that there weren’t! This was an unvegan dream come true. Seriously, a pasta with eggs and bacon, but no peas? Truly spectacular. Moreover, it tasted incredible. The bacon was powerful without being overwhelming, and the egg could be tasted throughout the dish as opposed to being washed out by the cream sauce. The pasta itself didn’t stand out aside from being cooked right, but while I can do that part at home I could not have done the rest.
Luciano’s knew exactly what I needed, and it turned out that it knew exactly what everyone else needed because no one had a bad thing to say about their respective meals. It may inhabit the corner of a classic Southern California mini mall, but it is definitely a hidden gem.