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Can a 30-Foot-Long Pasta Noodle Be Anything But a Gimmick?

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At Allora Ristorante in NYC, this gargantuan red sauce dish is served with 30 meatballs

At Allora Ristorante in Midtown Manhattan, one menu item sounds like the king of gimmicks, but is actually based on a bit of 14th-century Italian lore. This week on Consumed, host and Eater NY news editor Serena Dai samples the restaurant’s 30-foot-long noodle — a dish meant for four, served in one long and saucy coil alongside 30 mini meatballs.

Allora’s noodle is a take on maccheroni alla molinara, or “miller’s wife pasta” — a long, thick, traditionally looped noodle from Italy’s Abruzzo region (it looks a little like a limp hoola hoop). Legend has it that a wheat miller’s wife with excess flour on her hands hand-rolled a pasta fit for King Robert of Naples, and the chewy dish became a favorite in the region. Allora’s version is not continuous, but is rolled and shaped by hand, and is so dense that it requires scissors to eat. Dai sat down with Allora owner Elio Albanese to hear the noodle’s backstory and try for herself the only pasta in the city that’s taller than four Shaquille O’Neal’s.

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