I first came across Pasta with Love at the Stockbridge Farmer’s Market in the summer. I was hungry and looking for lunch, they were there selling fresh pasta to take home, as well as cooking portions and serving them with puttanesca, one of my favourite sauces. I bought a portion and some linguine for the next day and skipped home very happy indeed. (And learned that walking up hill while eating is difficult, no matter how delicious the pasta is.) Impressed by the linguine which I ate with carbonara one day and a simple tomato sauce the next, I decided that I wanted to hear more about Pasta with Love’s story. As far as I knew, they were the only company in Scotland making and selling fresh pasta the way they do. Their pasta is so fresh it’s made that morning. We’re not talking supermarket fresh pasta which is definitely raw, but not necessarily fresh. So, a couple of weeks ago, I caught up with them again.
Ness and Duncan started selling pasta earlier this year. They were living in Geneva when they decided to sell up and return to Scotland and develop their own fresh pasta brand in Renfrewshire. In Geneva, fresh pasta is common, people have a different view of what good pasta is. In the UK, we’re still a little lazy about pasta.
Pasta is easy to make, but difficult to get right. – Duncan
Developing the perfect pasta – and it had to be perfect – took a lot of experimentation. Duncan and Ness went through large amounts of different types of flours until they had a recipe that gave them the texture and flavour they wanted. Good pasta is elastic but has a bit of bite after cooking. The ingredients are simple – eggs, flour, water – but finding the right proportions and the right flours takes time. When they’d been trading for three weeks, they sent a sample of linguine to the Great Taste Awards. They won gold. They didn’t stop at a basic recipe but experiment with dessert pastas (the rhubarb crumble ravioli went down well) and different savouries. One of the wonderful things about pasta is its versatility: linguine, pappardelle and tagliatelle is great vehicles for sauce but filled pastas like ravioli open up a whole new world of flavour combinations. Good fresh pasta doesn’t need much ‘dressing’ to be tasty. Pasta with Love’s pasta comes in packs that serves two. Each pack has a freezer bag so if you’re only serving one, the rest can go into the fridge for a day, or into the freezer for longer. Convenient and considerate. Next, Pasta with Love wants to develop a good gluten-free pasta, and a whole wheat version. It will take yet more experimentation and testing. The new varieties must be as good as the original. Quality is key. Attention to quality informs how the company expands and develops. Like any entrepreneurs, Ness and Duncan are keen to expand their markets as well as their product range. Today, they supply one restaurant and one deli and hope to do more of both. But they take it one step at a time to ensure that the product doesn’t suffer.
Duncan and Ness have bought a flour mill and are in the process of developing their own range of fresh, stone ground flours. They want to use their own flours for their wholewheat pasta but also make fresh flour to sell for baking. They’ve also got a second unit for their enterprise and have opened the first kitchen they worked in to other food ventures. It is a great space for companies that want to move from a domestic kitchen to a professional one but don’t yet have the capital to get their own dedicated space. A shared space like this also lets small companies benefit from each other’s experience, make contacts, share ideas and brain storm in a way that is difficult when it’s just you, at home.
Quick Creamy Carbonara with Fresh Linguine
Anyone can cook, it’s about making it simple & accessible – Ness
Ness kindly shared Pasta with Love’s much admired creamy carbonara recipe with us. For the best flavour, make with their fresh pasta. Serves 1 (double up on ingredients to serve 2) Preperation time 5 minutes Cooking time 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped bacon or bacon lardons
- 1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
- ½ garlic clove, crushed
- 65ml of double cream
- 1 tbsp Parmesan or Grano Padano
- Pinch of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 turns of salt mill
- 4 turns of pepper mill
- ½ pack of Pasta With Love Fresh Linguine or other Fresh Pasta shape
- 1 tbsp Parmesan
- 3 turns of pepper mill
- Sprig of fresh parsley
Prepare all your ingredients in advance of cooking as the whole process is very quick and should only take 5 minutes from hob to plate.
- Measure 2 heaped tablespoons of bacon pieces into a small bowl.
- Finely chop a very small onion, measure 2 tablespoons of onion and freeze the rest.
- Fill the kettle up with water and boil.
- Once the water has boiled in the kettle pour all the water into a pot and bring back up to the boil with a sprinkle of salt.
- In the meantime roughly chop a sprigs of fresh parsley, set aside.
- Once the water has come to a boil add the fresh pasta to the boiling water, stir with a fork, and set the timer for 4 minutes bringing it back up to the boil, stir occasionally.
- In a medium sized frying pan heat the olive oil.
- Add bacon to the frying pan and sauté until cooked but not browned.
- At this point add the onion to the frying pan and sauté until the bacon has started to brown and the onions are soft.
- Once pasta has 2 minutes left (of the 4 minutes), turn the temperature down on the frying pan and add the crushed garlic, sauté but don’t burn.
- Once the pasta has 1 minute left, turn the heat down on the frying pan to its lowest setting and add the double cream, parmesan, pinch of roughly chopped parsley, salt and pepper
- Stir on the lowest heat until the cream is heated and the parmesan has melted, turn the cooker off.
- Drain the fresh pasta and add it to the Carbonara sauce in the frying pan.
- Combine all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan, black pepper and fresh parsley
Where to Find Pasta with Love
It’s always best to check their Facebook page to find out where they’ll be, but you’ll often find them at the markets and deli listed below. Edinburgh Farmers’ Market – Check for dates on their Facebook page. Stockbridge Market, Edinburgh. The market’s open every Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00. Producers go home when they sell out so come early! Glasgow Farmer’s Market – Queen’s Park First and third Saturday of the month, 10:00 – 14:00. Glasgow Farmer’s Market – Mansfield Park, Partick Second and fourth Saturday of the month, 10:00 – 14:00. Pane e Vino Italian Deli, Giffnock, Glasgow Get your order in by Thursday and pick up on Friday afternoon or Saturday. You’ll also find them on Twitter: @PastaWithLove Thank you to Pasta with Love for the images.