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Dining Out: Casa Della Nonna offers comforting Italian fare worth seeking out

Maybe it was the rainy, cold weather, or maybe because I was sick a couple weeks ago and finally regained my appetite. Whatever the case, I was craving a bowl of pasta with sauce, any sauce really.

I happened to spot Casa Della Nonna while driving along Telegraph Road in Severn one day and was surprised to see a restaurant tucked away behind a distinct real estate building.

I went inside and was immediately greeted by one of the employees. There were bottles of wine in crates and liquor on the shelves with awards and fun knick-knacks displayed in the front. There was a chalkboard sign held by a fat smiling chef statue that had a list of lunch specials. Behind the counter, you could see pizza being made by one of the cooks. The décor was not modern; the tables were covered with checkered tablecloths, and the walls were painted with murals of different scenes in Italy. Though it looked chintzy, it had a sense of nostalgia and an at-homeness to it, as if you went to your grandmother’s old, never remodeled house.

I felt relaxed and warm as I sat down and started looking through the menu. The menu had a great variety of choices and it was hard to pick just one. I ordered the gnocchi pesto creamy (lunch $9.50, dinner $13.99), the Nonna Alla Chef (lunch $13.99, dinner $21.99), and the eggplant parmigiana (lunch $9.50, dinner $13.99).

The gnocchi pesto creamy came out and I absolutely loved the homemade creamy pesto sauce. I am a sucker for a good cream sauce, and I could have licked the plate clean of the sauce, but I refrained from doing that. The pieces of gnocchi were tender with a soft chew, and the cream sauce was not too thick, it had a nice smooth richness and the wonderful aroma of pesto was not overpowering.

The next dish was the Nonna Alla Chef, which was a wonderful mix of chicken, crab meat, and shrimp in a rose sauce over angel hair pasta. If you love that combination of chicken with seafood, then you must order it. It was also one of my favorites. The rose sauce was silky, the chicken was juicy and the shrimp took in the flavors of the sauce.

As I was enjoying my plates of pasta, I saw people coming in to pick up their pizza orders. They sell pizza by the slice, so I ordered a slice of cheese pizza. My slice came out, it was a thin crust style that was evenly baked with a crispy bottom which is exactly my preference for delicious pizza. The cheese was gooey, and I liked that it was not covered in too much pizza sauce. I think I will have to order my pizza from here from now on.

As I finished my slice, my eggplant parmigiana came out. I sliced into the eggplant parm and saw the layers of sauce and cheese. As I bit into it, I was disappointed by the lack of seasoning, the breading was not executed well, and though it had a good amount of eggplant, they were sliced too thin so it was rather mushy. Unfortunately, that was the one dish that did not meet my expectations and I would not order again.

I was starting to get full, but the server asked about dessert. I looked through the menu, and asked what dessert was made in house, and she said the tiramisu so I ordered a slice with the thought that if you’re at an Italian restaurant, that is one classic dessert you should get. This was a great way to end my meal. The balance of the coffee, the cream, and the lady fingers were very well done. I loved the fact that it was not overly sweet, there still was a bit of sweetness to it, but it was not overwhelming, and it was nice palette cleanser to my whole dinner.

Aside from the one lackluster dish, I would definitely go back to try some of their other dishes, such as their spaghetti with homemade meatballs, or the spaghetti carbonara. Casa Della Nonna satisfied my craving for pasta, and my stomach and palette really enjoyed everything. I am very much looking forward to going back, and next time, I know where to make the turn to the restaurant.

Casa Della Nonna

WHERE: 8141 Telegraph Road, Severn

PHONE: 410-551-8000

WEBSITE: casadellanonnamd.com

HOURS: Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

OWNER: Marcello

PRICE: $5.99-$23.99

CREDIT CARDS: All major credit cards

RESERVATIONS: Not needed

ACCESSIBILITY: Yes

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