SemolinaLA

by Evan Kleiman
Print Email

Pasta BagsI’m a pasta snob.  I admit it and I don’t apologize for it.  I believe that great pasta is an Italian cultural artifact that’s been given to the world.  And when I talk about pasta I’m talking about DRY PASTA, that is, Durum Wheat pasta.  Pasta made with semolina  from exceptional (now, often North American) hard winter wheat.

Over centuries Italian artisans learned how to combine hard wheat with water, humidity and moving air into an easy to store source of calories and whimsy.  High quality dry pasta is all about texture.

When properly made it is porous enough to absorb condiments or “sauce”, yet sturdy enough to withstand boiling in water and remain resistant while tender.  Good dry pasta should be as satisfying to eat as meat.  It is not easy to achieve and my favorites are all imported from Italy.  

 

Pasta LeahHowever, now a locally made tasted durum wheat pasta made here in Los Angeles has made it into my rotation. The maker is Leah Ferrazzani.  Her company SemolinaLA is turning out to be one of the California Cottage Law success stories.

Leah is selling enough pasta to move out of her inspected home kitchen and into the communal kitchens of LA Prep.  SemolinaLA pasta isn’t perfect yet in texture, but it’s close.  I like it for it’s nearly floral wheaty aroma, great flavor and for what it almost is. Getting the texture right is falling down a very complex science driven rabbit hole. And Leah is smart and tenacious enough to master it.

In Italy pasta was dried by coastal breezes high in humidity.  All pasta cabinets attempt to replicate the soft, moist warm breezes of the bay of Naples. Leah’s cottage set-up is a repurposed laundry room, with a heater, humidifier. fan and sensors.  

It’s astonishing that she’s achieved the texture and quality she has in that setting.  I can’t wait to see what the pasta becomes once she has the equipment and space she needs.

For more information about where you can buy her pasta, please visit Semolina's website.

Evan Kleiman is an active speaker on culinary subjects as well as issues of food culture and sustainability and, just to keep a balance, she has a very public love affair with Pie. She’s been called the Jerry Garcia of cooking with the freewheeling improvisation she brings to the kitchen. You can follow her exploits on her blog at http://www.evankleiman.com/

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Bar Chloe
Los Angeles
by Maia Harari and Anna Harari

chloe_sm.jpgIt's sort of hidden.  You can't see it from the street and it's beneath a hotel that doesn't seem nearly as nice, the Hotel Carmel, that is.  It's called Chloe, the Westside complement to Laurie...

Read more...
Luke's Lobster Roll
New York
by Michael Tucker

ImageWinter on the Upper West Side of New York is a strange time and place to open a lobster shack. Where’s the beach, for example? Where’s the sun? The seagulls? It’s hard to conjure up seafood by the...

Read more...
Two New York WOW moments!
New York
by Nancy Ellison

How I love New York restaurants! I love my old standbys. I love the familiar friendly faces and food that I know exactly how it will taste. But, I also love going somewhere unexpected and...

Read more...
Antojéria La Popular: Mexican Street Food Debuts in Soho
New York
by Alex Rader

cricketsNestled under a nail salon, down just a few stairs, there lives an outpost of delicate seafood, with a touch of unexpected spice.

The thing most people will have heard of from Chef Andres...

Read more...