Lately, “artisanal” is a popular word in food as it’s becoming synonymous with the term “quality” and because people want to know where their food comes from and how it’s made. Artisanal means small producers making traditional foods, using handcrafted production processes sometimes with distinctive ingredients that yield a specialty product. Artisanal food products have expanded into several categories – cheese, salt, bread, pickles, chocolate, popcorn, candy beer, olive oil, ice cream and even pasta to name a few.
Baia Pasta is an Oakland-based artisan food company founded by Renalto Sardo and Dario Barbone, both born and raised in Piemonte, a northwestern region in Italy. The idea for this pasta started when Renalto discovered that most Italian pasta is made from American and Canadian wheat that is shipped to Italy, made into pasta and then shipped back. After a few years of study, he started extruding his own pasta using only the finest organic flours from America. These flours are mostly harvested from local farms in Utah, Montana and Colorado, and they also collaborate with California farmers to grow unique durum and spelt wheat varieties.
We had the opportunity to try a few of Baia’s pasta flavors and shapes. Included in my shipment were: lilies made from organic American flour, pac-macs (paccheri), twins (gemelli) and their roasted garlic and habanero pasta (ajo & oio in gemelli shape). Baia pasta comes in 12 different shapes, some of which are quite unique.
Here’s what we made:
Chicken and pasta with roasted tomatoes in white wine sauce – with the Ajo & Oio Gemelli. This pasta is from their flavored line. It’s a combination of garlic-flavored and habanero-flavored noodles. My husband pulled together this dish and even he felt the pasta had a good spicy kick so you don’t need a heavy sauce.
Lilies pasta with roasted tomatoes, sausage and sage. This is a play off one of my originally created recipes. I love the flavors of this dish and the ruffled pasta held the sausage and tomatoes well.
I can’t wait to see what else I use the other two pastas for!
Baia pasta can be found at their flagship store in Oakland, CA along the waterfront (hence the name Baia meaning “bay” in Italian) or you can purchase it online through their website. The boxes are a full pound weight package, which many popular retail pastas are no longer.
How often do you make pasta in a week?
What’s your favorite shape and flavor of pasta?
Disclaimer: While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Baia Pastas, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.