Forma Pasta began as a fresh pasta subscription service by Becca Romagnoli in 2019. They delivered unique pastas each month, such as beet farfalle, cracked pepper pappardelle and corn and cilantro tripolini right to peoples’ homes. Romagnoli was the head chef at The Vandal, where she experimented with different pasta dishes, when she started the business. Forma Pasta grew, and eventually Romagnoli left The Vandal, opening up her own storefront in the Allentown neighborhood. They sold their pasta (both fresh and dried), held pasta-making classes and prepared special dinners. With their move to a bigger storefront in Sewickley this August, they started offering full breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus.
I’ve been a big fan of Forma Pasta since they started their subscription service. I was so joyful to receive fresh pasta during the pandemic when cooking felt dull and uninspiring. It brought life back to my dinners. It was exciting to see Forma’s menu and what other offerings they would have besides pasta.
For a smaller restaurant, Forma Pasta has a fairly large menu. It consists of several different appetizers, salads and mains. A few menu items that caught my eye, but I didn’t end up ordering, were the fried provolone, Caesar salad, yinzer pierogie, fettuccine Alfredo and chicken parmesan.
We started with the burrata bruschetta and cheesy garlic bread, which are both twists on the classic Italian restaurant appetizers. The burrata bruschetta was on fried dough, and the burrata was melted, which elevated the dish above your typical bruschetta. While there was a mouthwatering cheese pull, the dough closer to the center was a bit soggy from both the cheese and tomato. However, the outer edge was crispy and somewhat made up for this. The cheesy garlic bread was another delightful start to the meal. Despite the copious amount of mozzarella, the bread stayed crunchy. The tomato dipping sauce was a nice accompaniment to this decadent dish.
While the appetizers were a great start to the meal, I was really at Forma for their pasta menu. We had trouble deciding what to order and was between the capellini carbonara, and the basil pesto gnocchi. I ultimately went for the capellini carbonara, and my dining partner went for the basil pesto gnocchi. The capellini carbonara was luscious and coated every inch of the pasta.The freshly made capellini was al dente and the long, thin noodle was the perfect pasta for the sauce. Choosing what pasta pairs well with what sauce is an art form, and Forma Pasta nailed it. The carbonara sauce was traditionally made with crispy bacon bits and fresh peas mixed throughout. The basil pesto gnocchi was my favorite dish of the night, and it wasn’t even my order! Just like the carbonara, the basil pesto sauce was sinfully rich. Traditional pesto is mixed with butter, cream and limoncello. The limoncello added some acidity to the pasta and paired well with the fresh basil in the pesto. The gnocchi was fluffy and cooked to perfection. This was definitely the standout dish of the evening.
The copious amounts of carbs prevented me from having dessert, but Forma offers both homemade tiramisu and cannoli if you’re in need of a sweet treat.
Forma Pasta keeps their menu classic and while it’s not necessarily inventive, the quality of the menu items is strong. Breaking off from a well-known restaurant to create your own brand is tough, and Romagnoli has done so successfully.