Marco Pacelli was born and raised in Milan, Italy. For four months every year his father would send him to live with his Aunt Concettina at her home on the Amalfi coast.

It was there he learned the beauty and simplicity of Italian home cooking.

After taking his first job as a busboy at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan, he rose through the ranks, spending 22 years in the hospitality sector.

A gamut of corporate jobs including the Mandarin Oriental and the Fairmont Hotel groups had him running the 'front of house' in far flung locations from Dubai to San Francisco. Eventually he ended up at the Terranea Resort where, until recently, he was the associate director of food and beverage.

At every stop, he took the time to learn the tools and techniques of the kitchen; filing them away for the day he opened his own restaurant.

Fatto a Mano means hand made, and it represents all that Pacelli has learned about food and hospitality.

His small storefront in a Redondo Beach strip mall mimics a mom and pop trattoria in Rome.

"We greet you, we feed you, it's like coming into our home, " Pacelli said.

As for the cooking? "It's not rocket science. The difference is how we source our ingredients. It's simplicity. That is what makes the food tastes so good."

This means importing the best Petra flour, Vesuvian tomato sauce, small batch fresh bufala mozzarella and specialty meats like speck, Parma ham, guanciale and mortadella.   

The various pastas, from fettuccini to pappardelle are made fresh daily in an Italian extruder machine.

Pacelli's basic recipe is "flour, eggs, salt, and love...love in abundance."

Fatto offers seven pastas, including a gluten free gnocchi, made with potato flour. These can be combined with any of the five classic Italian sauces; tomato, cacio e pepe (a cheese sauce made with pecorino Romano and Parmesan), slow-cooked meaty Bolognese, basil pesto, and a lobster based zucchini and prawn.

Fatto also offers some classic Italian dishes.

Eggplant Parmesan isn't the old-fashioned breaded and fried version; rather slivers of dried eggplant are layered seven deep with tomato sauce and Parmesan and baked for a lighter, healthier preparation. The lasagna is traditional Bolognese, made with a béchamel instead of ricotta and mozzarella.

The pizza is Roma style, which means the dough is prepared very wet and "cured" for 72 hours chilled and another 12 hours at room temp. All the air accumulated by that long rise creates a crust that is light and crisp. Pizza can be purchased by the slice or by the sheet in simple Margherita style or with fancier toppings like ham and artichokes or potatoes and rosemary.

There are just a few desserts, but they are nice.

The crostata is basically a vessel for Nutella. The apple mascarpone cake is airy and moist with a hint of cinnamon. And the carrot cake is unlike the commonplace dense, heavy version, instead fluffy and flavored with orange that complements the sweetness of the carrots.

The price point is low, most of the pasta dishes around ten bucks.

The core business is take-away, and they've partnered with doordash, postmates and grubhub. You can order the pasta prepared in a microwavable container, or order it raw with the sauce on the side. Throw it together at home, and tell you family you prepared it fatto a mano!

Fatto A Mano 610 Torrance Blvd, Redondo Beach. Weekdays 11am-8:30pm, weekends till 9:30

Eileen Shields is a South Bay food writer: contact at eileeneatsatthebeach@gmail.com

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

Load comments