Ramen may be having a renaissance, but it isn’t the only noodle in town—there’s a revolution simmering in artisan Italian pasta too. Three companies show passion for the craft, preserving traditional food and heirloom varieties, and supporting organic, small-scale local production.
When John Pauley of Mattarellotook a break from working at restaurants Lark Creek Inn and La Folie to study pasta making in Bologna, his fate was sealed. Now he uses the best Sonoma eggs to make small batches of gossamer pasta and returns to Bologna annually for a refresher. He and wife Anna make delicate tagliatelle, pappardelle, and tortellini for pop-up shops at Gourmet & More and Biondovino.
Fans of Mattarello include Renato Sardo and Dario Barbone, friends and partners in Baia Pasta. Sardo, previously a Slow Food director, and Barbone were desperate Italian expats looking for organic artisan pasta with better flavor and a smaller carbon footprint. Using unusually tasty wheat varieties, including nutty spelt and buttery kamut, their pasta sold out fast at underground markets. Get it at their Oakland shop, or Delfina, Osterina Stellina, and Coco500.
Community Grains began when Bob Klein found three Italian wheats ideal for pasta, and decided to grow them here with the goal of creating a more flavorful, healthier product. Today, Oakland’s Pasta Shop and Oliveto use his flours to make a variety of fresh pasta dishes, such as Red Winter Wheat Bigoli with pancetta, Cannellini beans, tomato, and Parmesan cheese. Community Grains dried pastas are available at Whole Foods and Bi-Rite.
This article was published in 7x7's May issue. Click here to subscribe.