Barbara Lynch cooks a lot of pasta at No. 9 Park, her restaurant in Boston. She makes from eight to 10 different pasta dishes a day, ranging from canonical Italian preparations—such as the ribbon-like noodle called trenette with green beans and pesto, a Ligurian favorite—to her own improvisations. (Something she whipped up to feed the staff one afternoon, a flower-shaped pasta with wild mushrooms and mascarpone, went over so well with the dishwashers and prep cooks that her general manager persuaded her to put it on the menu.) Some of her sauces come together in a matter of minutes; others simmer all afternoon. However they are cooked, Lynch's pasta dishes have been one of the chief reasons for No. 9 Park's great popularity ever since it opened over two years ago. A number of customers even request a pasta tasting menu so they can try them all.
This goes on six days a week. On the seventh, the restaurant is closed and Barbara Lynch stays at home. At dinner time, naturally, she makes herself a big bowl of pasta: rigatoni with hot sausage and cannellini beans, a dish so simple and satisfying that she never tires of it.
"It's a fixation," Lynch explains, "maybe even an obsession. I'm fascinated with pasta."