A plate of gourmet-quality Pasta Mama from Hugo's Restaurant, West Hollywood, Calif.

Pasta Mama: World-Class Gourmet Pasta on a Shoestring

A popular restaurant  Hugo’s, in West Hollywood, Calif., has been critically acclaimed for one of its menu items, Pasta Mama.

The first time I heard about it, I thought it was a bit odd. Pasta with eggs? I couldn’t imagine what would prompt people to drive many miles to get Pasta Mama. But they do, insisting, it’s the best pasta they’ve ever eaten.

A plate of gourmet pasta from Hugo's Restaurant, West Hollywood, Calif.

 

I had to try it, and as you might imagine, I love it. I would describe it to you here, but it’s indescribable—indescribably delicious, that is.

But I don’t drive to Hugo’s to pay $14 (plus tax and tip) for this dish. Instead, I make it myself, from scratch, following my copycat recipe. What a wonderful, simply satisfying dinner—or breakfast—entree.

Pasta Mama takes all of about 10 minutes from start to finish and feeds two for a total cost of about $1.50.


RELATED: Simple Tips to Stretch the Food Budget 


At that price, you have little to lose if you try it and don’t like it, and chances are really good that you’ll love it.

In fact, I won’t be surprised to hear that you’ve added Pasta Mama to your family’s list of favorite meals. Serve it once a week and your grocery budget will love you.

 

A plate of gourmet-quality Pasta Mama from Hugo's Restaurant, West Hollywood, Calif.
Print Recipe
4.75 from 4 votes

Pasta Mama

People drive for many miles to enjoy Pasta Mama at Hugo's, the famed restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif. Here is a quick, easy and super cheap way you can save the trip and make it yourself in under 20 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2
Author: Mary

Ingredients

  • 5 oz pasta dry or fresh, like fettuccini or spaghetti
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp seasoning salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 - 3 tbsp reserved pasta water or water
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions (or use any kind of leftover pasta).
  • While pasta is cooking, mix seasonings together in a small bowl and beat the eggs in another bowl. Set both aside.
  • Pour oil (or melt butter) in a 10-inch saute pan. Add minced garlic and the entire amount of seasoning mix (should be 1 teaspoon total).
  • Saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add parsley; add hot pasta right out of the cooking water along with one tablespoon of hot water. (If you are using leftover pasta, make sure it is hot!)
  • Add the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly, tossing it in the pan using tongs.
  • Add Parmesan. Toss and allow to cook for an additional 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Notes

Pasta Mama has as many variations as you can imagine. To make it Pasta Papa, add any vegetables you would put in an omelet—other cheeses, sausage, bacon, chicken; adjust seasonings to taste. Enjoy!

 

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Question: Is there a dish you make at home that’s a dead ringer for a popular, pricey restaurant dish? Oh, please share!

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Original 2-13-2015; Updated 3-29-2019

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23 replies
  1. Jeanne
    Jeanne says:

    I have been making this dish since it was printed in a Dom Deluise cookbook way back in the day. It was a dish his mom used to make. Specific ingredients may be slightly different, but it is basically the same dish. I saw the dish on ‘The best thing I ever ate’ and was surprised that the “professional chef” giving the dish props did not recognize it as an existing recipe printed in Deluise’s cookbook. The book was first printed in 1991. To get my kids to try new dishes I would rename dishes (ie: cold chinese sesame noodles became peanut butter worms and grilled zucchini became grilled alligator leg) and/or use dishes that they could relate to. With this dish, I explained it was a recipe that the father of ‘The Wizzards of Waverly Place” ‘s Grandma would make. They just gobbled it up. It is quite delicious and easy to prepare. Thankyou for sharing to those who have not read Dom’s cookbook.

    Reply
  2. Gail Mills
    Gail Mills says:

    My favorite restaurant copycat recipe is burger king onion rings. So easy and cheap to make. There are 5 ingredients plus oil for frying. Onions, I use yellow onions, but have used purple and white and they all taste good. Milk, flour, breadcrumbs, and salt. Slice onions, separate into rings, dip rings into milk, then into flour. Shake excess flour off. Dip back into milk then into breadcrumbs. Back into milk one more time, and back into breadcrumbs. Then put them on a cookie sheet, or sheet of foil, let sit for about 5 min to firm up. Heat oil to med high, deep fry onion rings till nicely browned. Drain on paper towels or a wire rack. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy.

    Reply
  3. Linda
    Linda says:

    Hi Mary, I made this for dinner tonight and loved it! I had a little ham I wanted to use, so diced it and sauteed with the garlic. If you get everything ready ahead of time, it’s easy to put together. Thank you for a yummy meal!
    Linda

    Reply
  4. Cindy Sheets
    Cindy Sheets says:

    I think a few ingredients are missing from your recipe. The seasonings:

    1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1⁄4 teaspoon oregano
    1⁄4 teaspoon seasoning salt
    1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder

    Reply
  5. Kresti Lyddon
    Kresti Lyddon says:

    You mention “seasoning mix” in the recipe, but it is not spelled out in the ingredients. I presume it is more than the fresh garlic and parsley? This sounds like the spaghetti carbonara I’ve made (sans bacon).

    Reply
  6. crabbyoldlady
    crabbyoldlady says:

    Carbonara revisited. You never had that before? It keep me going when we visited Italy since I don’t like tomato sauce.

    Reply
  7. Mary Hunt
    Mary Hunt says:

    How on earth?! So sorry everyone to have somehow have dropped off those most important seasonings! I’ve updated the recipe to include them now. My apologies.

    Reply
  8. g8isgr8
    g8isgr8 says:

    Yep! this is a version of Spaghetti Carbonara (light). Been around for decades! I had a cookbook from the International School of Rome in the 70’s. That version called for bacon, more cheese, eggs and a small glas of white wine instead of the pasta water.
    New generation discovers it and Bingo! the hot “new” LA place to go.
    Buon appitito!

    Reply
  9. crabbyoldlady
    crabbyoldlady says:

    Carbonara is an extremely popular dish in Italy. I ate it many times after I maxed out on red sauce. To make it carbonara, add pancetta or bacon.

    Reply
  10. Petoskey
    Petoskey says:

    I’ve made this several times and, in fact, it’s what we’re having for dinner next Monday! Our family loves it, and we usually serve it with veggies or a salad on the side. If you want, you can add some chopped or shredded cooked chicken, turkey, ham, etc. to it. It’s a wonderful, inexpensive meal.

    Reply
  11. Dee
    Dee says:

    Oh, my! I having been making this dish for years with leftover pasta. Usually, added a small can of sweet peas. I didn’t know it was an actual recipe. 🙂 My children and I loved it.

    Reply

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