2150 Pleasant Hill Rd., Pleasant Hill, 925-935-3925
Margherita Molino has been making ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi, minestrone, and sauces in the basement of her house since she was 16. Today, she's 84, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about her store. Customers enter her basement and walk directly through the kitchen where she is working. A meat sauce might be bubbling on a burner as huge pots of water are readied for the pasta. Two walls of the sales room are loaded with stacked cardboard boxes filled with beef, chicken, and vegetable ravioli and lasagna. Plastic pints of minestrone, split pea, chicken noodle, and butternut squash soup sit on shelves. Big slabs of lasagna in round plastic plates are covered with Saran wrap and labeled with Molino's trademark blue and white label. Molino's makes everything in the way of old school Italian food and makes it right. She doesn't take plastic — too contemporary? — but she will accept your personal checks.