It’s a question worthy of true debate: What’s the best pasta shape? You could argue that certain noodles are built to handle certain sauces. You could make a case that stuffed pasta creations like ravioli offer an extra dimension to the dish, but those tasty pillows don’t soak up their surroundings as well as a tender pile of pappardelle.
It’s hard to choose a single plate for dinner at a great Italian-American restaurant like Fresco Italiano, a quiet gem at the Westgate resort just east of the Las Vegas Strip. But there’s one dish that leaps off this menu with bold promise: the shortrib tortellini gigante.
Huge, ring-shaped pasta pockets cooked to perfect tenderness are loaded with savory, supple beef shortrib. The slow braised meat’s unrelenting richness is beautifully contrasted by Fresco’s house-made marinara, tangy and bright while boasting a roasty depth of flavor of its own. Decorative ribbons of sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and sprinkles of fresh herbs and red pepper flakes represent the finishing touches, but the real finisher is you eating this entire plate of perfect pasta. Fresco Italiano at Westgate Las Vegas, 702-732-5276; daily 5-10 p.m.