The Boilermaker

House pasta at Brabo and The Butcher's Block in Old Town

If you can dream it, Brabo will stuff it. At least, so it goes with the kitchen's new pasta program.

Brabo's chef de cuisine, Chris Watson, is now filling orders for custom ravioli and long noodles with one to three days' notice and no minimum order size, to be picked up next door at The Butcher's Block.

Dress up linguine ($10 for ¾ pound) with squid ink, flavor fettuccine with spinach or basil, or substitute whole wheat for durum flour in spaghetti.

Watson's true prowess shines in his custom ravioli (from $2 per piece). The chef will work with your specifications (based on availability and seasonality), but we prefer recommendations. At the moment Watson is favoring local spring ingredients such as artichokes and asparagus. One recent chef's choice yielded ricotta ravioli plumped with English peas and shiitake.

The shop also offers help in completing your pasta course: The market stocks basic sauces, and the staff will recommend flavor complements.

Watson's standard dough is durable enough for tentative cooks to handle, but it boils into excellent servings of lanky noodles and soft pillows of ravioli. Since they're so fresh–prepared shortly before you pick them up–most types of pasta cook in one to four minutes.

That way you can stuff yourself in nearly no time.

The Butcher's Block, 1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-3440 or braborestaurant.com