Pasta e Pesto on FM 1960 serves authentic Italian fare

Penne Allu2019 Amatriciana ($12) Penne is served in a spicy tomato sauce with pancetta, onions and bell peppers.

Penne Allu2019 Amatriciana ($12) Penne is served in a spicy tomato sauce with pancetta, onions and bell peppers.

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Pasta e Pesto
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Pasta e Pesto
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Pasta e Pesto
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Pasta e Pesto
Matt Vernon married Mary Spessato nine years ago, just a few years after she moved to Houston from a small town outside of Venice, Italy.

Vernon said Spessato found that most Greater Houston area restaurants served an American version of Italian cuisine. This observation inspired Vernon to open Pasta e Pesto on FM 1960 in January 2016.

“There are Italian restaurants around here, but for the most part, you have to travel downtown to find Italian dishes made by an Italian [chef] with Italian recipes,” Vernon said.

Pasta e Pesto’s menu consists of dishes like pasticcio, a traditional Northern Italian lasagna, Vernon said. Everything is made from scratch by Vernon and other restaurant staff, including the pasta noodles, sauces and desserts. Although this process can be time-consuming, Vernon said it is what he enjoys most about his job.

“It takes time, it takes patience, but it takes love as well,” Vernon said.

Although the restaurant’s menu sticks to authentic offerings, Vernon and his staff also get chances to experiment with monthly five-course dinners.

These dinners often have a theme and are the only occasion most of the dishes are available, Vernon said. For example, lasagna made with pumpkin squash puree and creamy sweet potato were served at a fall-themed dinner Oct. 30.

Vernon said in Italy it is common for dinner to consist of multiple courses.

“They have three-hour dinners there, and it’s not a big deal,” Vernon said. “And here, everybody is in a hurry—and we don’t really enjoy dinner—so we put together a five-course Italian dinner that usually lasts two hours.”

Although Vernon said Spessato does not work in the restaurant on a daily basis, she is the taste-tester and ensures all of the food tastes the way it should.

“She’s our biggest fan and our biggest critic,” Vernon said. “When it’s perfect she lets us know, [and] when it’s not perfect she lets us know.”

Pasta e Pesto
1678 FM 1960 W., Houston
281-580-1430
www.pastaepestotx.com
Hours: Mon. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.