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In a strip-mall by the Cleveland Park Metro station sits an unassuming little gem: Vace’s Italian Delicatessen.

I love to cook from scratch and I do make my own fresh pasta occasionally but I make sure to have pastas and sauces from Vace in my freezer so that I can whip up a meal worthy of an Italian grandma in mere minutes. Their pasta is some of the best I’ve ever had. The freezer there is full of everything I want – pastas filled with spinach, cheese, mushrooms and pumpkin. They have fresh mozzarella available daily, and a wide variety of Italian staples like canned tomatoes, olive oils, and semolina.

Once I went in and there was no tri-color fettuccine (which I always get along with containers of their amazing alfredo sauce). I asked the lady at the counter about it and she asked, “oh, how much do you need?” She went and cut me some right then and there! Also try the pumpkin agnolotti and walnut sauce.

I always add broccoli to my fettuccine Alfredo to add color, flavor and nutrition. Most of the time I’ll cut it fresh, but here’s a secret: Safeway Organic frozen broccoli might even beat fresh, and while it’s kind of pricey, it’s so convenient and reliable that I still buy it when the fresh broccoli looks a little sad.

We like the Alfredo sauce warmed up with a clove or two of crushed garlic. While the sauce is heating up, I just boil the pasta and add the frozen broccoli to the same pot when the pasta is about half-done (this happens quite quickly with fresh pasta) In just ten minutes, drain, top with grated Parmesan cheese, and serve:

So, make your way to Vace and stock up. I have yet to try their pizza but it’s supposed to be fantastic. Anyway, you’re going to want to go, so here’s the address:

3315 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 363-1999