Rolling in dough
Mangia Tutto—Italian for “eat everything”—opened last summer in Carson City with a menu of pasta dishes, soups, salads, sandwiches, calzones and Chicago-style thin crust and deep dish pizzas. Knowing that deep dish takes about an hour to bake, I immediately put in an order for a small (10-inch) Chicago Classic ($20) with sausage, mushroom, green pepper, mozzarell, and crushed tomato sauce. For comparison, we added a thin crust margherita pie ($12.25) with olive oil, tomato, basil and mozzarella.
With a large bar dominating the main room, there are several Italian and American bar-staple appetizers served. I chose a serving of five meatballs ($12.25) smothered in spicy arrabbiata sauce, in lieu of the standard marinara. A bit larger than golf balls, they had great texture and didn’t lack in garlic or herbs. The punch of garlic and red pepper in the sauce turned each one into a seriously spicy meatball.
Pasta dishes are available with a selection of proteins and housemade sauces, and are served with bread and a choice of soup or salad. Anything other than marinara is an additional charge, but we went with ravioli in alfredo sauce ($18+$3, half meat, half cheese) and a serving of cavatappi ($14+$3) in bolognese. Both dishes were cooked just beyond al dente. The helical macaroni held the wonderfully spicy, meaty sauce very well, with a bit of melty mozzarella on top—fantastic. Likewise, the alfredo was cheesy, creamy, loaded with garlic, and the ravioli were on the large size. The meat filling was packed with plenty of herbs and spices. With plenty of spinach and lightly cooked mushroom swimming in alfredo, the overall effect was superb.
For sides, we chose a salad with Italian dressing and a cup of the house Italian wedding soup (available every day). The salad was basic, the dressing fine. The pint of soup was like having a bonus meal. It contained meatballs a third the size of their big brothers, with plenty of salad pasta and fresh baby spinach in a rich, beefy broth. The chef definitely isn’t afraid of garlic or red pepper. I’d return to try the various, additional soups of the day.
Then the thin crust pizza arrived. Thin and crispy, but bland and crackery with hard and crunchy edges. Sliced in triangles rather than the expected Chicago square-cut style. Large, thin slices of tomato with little flavor, and barely detectable basil that was buried and cooked into the cheese. The hallmark of a good margherita is the aroma of tomato topped with fresh basil, accented by chewy cheese. This wasn’t that.
Last was the deep dish pie—long on depth, short on substance. The solid wall of crust extended far above the fillings and was tough to cut through. Sure, this is a plate and fork meal, but I had a devil of a time trying to work a fork through it. The mix of spicy sausage, mushroom and pepper were just as flavorful as the other dishes, but there was barely any cheese at the bottom. The thick, undesirable crust reminded me of something your least favorite aunt made with boxed baking mix and called “pizza.” The leftovers were more pliable once microwaved, but the flavor of the crust was something I don’t wish to revisit. Go for the pasta sauces, skip the pizza.