Summer confession: Although we're supposed to be flinging ourselves at salad bowls' worth of Greenmarket-certified produce, sometimes we want a big bowl of pasta.
Perla's chef Michael Toscano understands that.
Case in point: the masterful spaghetti with rock shrimp, tomato and basil ($25). These San Marzano tomatoes aren't stewed for hours as they would be in a marinara sauce. Instead, they're crushed by hand and rapidly boiled in a large pot for no more than an hour. The comparatively quick cooking removes the raw tomato flavor but still allows the fruit's bright acidity to punch through.
Once a diner orders, the Florida rock shrimp are quickly plunged in the sauce along with a pat of butter, lemon juice and chile flakes. Finally, the pasta is finished with fresh basil leaves.
Toscano says he could "literally eat this dish every day."
Perla, 24 Minetta Ln. (between MacDougal St. and Sixth Ave.); 212-933-1824 or perlanyc.com