New on BakeryBits is an extraordinary artisan pasta we’ve had head turned by, and it’s locally made. Meet the The South Devon Pasta Company, turning heritage grains like Einkorn and Emmer into top-rate dry pasta that tastes delicious, cooks quickly, and uses grain grown small producers in England to craft into pasta within 48 hours of milling. No silos of old flour ageing away, instead all the flavour and nutrients released from the grain after milling are made into dough, and ready for you to enjoy.
Heritage Grain Pasta, 6 reasons to love it, including one you may disagree with me about:
1. Now remember, Heritage Grain Pasta is not a substitute for the white supermarket kind, no more than sourdough is a substitute for sliced white bread. Heritage grain pasta is a rare and beautiful ingredient. Cook it lightly, serve it with your best and boldest ingredients, and you will dazzle your guests and have them begging you to go on MasterChef. Of course we don’t guarantee this because, well to start with, that lockdown home haircut is not doing you any favours. TV is a visual medium, haircuts matter.
2. It’s true that our Heritage Grain Pasta is in essence a wholemeal pasta, but one little known fact is that many Italian cooks and top chefs use wholemeal pasta often. Ok, white pasta is far more common. But all the refined flour cooking and baking we see in Italy, and even in our take on Italian cooking in the UK and US, is very much a 20th century thing. Before this Italy was filled with working watermills and windmills using diverse grains – like farro, saraceno (buckwheat), maize, even chestnuts – for slow milling special flours with distinctive flavours. Today these flours like farro (a catchall that includes Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt), buckwheat, maize and chestnut are made into exceptional pasta top Italian chefs.
3. Wholemeal pasta got a bad reputation because – speaking for myself here – people like me made a bodge of it in cooking, blurpling a jar of super bland “Gino Italiano” sauce into it then praying it would turn into Trattoria Gold. Nup. Tasted like Bran-Flake Bolognese. The secret, great Italian chefs like my old boss Giorgio Locatelli taught me was (a) keep it simple, and (b) keep it vibrant, especially when you’re using complex grains and flours in Italian cooking. Got some super-virginal olive oil and dark squishy fragrant olives? They’re perfect together with Heritage Grain Pasta. Got extra-creamy gorgonzola or even a rich buttery stilton? They’re the business, just let them slightly melt into the hot pasta sauce.
4. In my opinion, just blame wholemeal fusilli for any residual dislike out there. Yes we sell Heritage Grain Fusilli, yes it’s one of the top-selling pasta shapes in Britain, yes my family and husband adore it, and yes I am probably alone in preferring almost any other shape. However I think it’s one of the least successful shapes to cook well as the outer edge of the spiral starts to mush up before the central core is passably tender. However, partner it with a great sauce and I’ll forgive you.
5. You want Heritage Grain Pasta magnificence? Try the Casarecce or Sedano Rigati, bold shapes made through a bronze “die” that gives the extruded surface a rough absorbent texture that soaks up flavour while cooking evenly and quickly. Giving you pasta that’s molto buono without the mush.
6. Does it come from a responsible, sustainable and utterly top-notch company? Absolutely, we wouldn’t sleep at night otherwise. The Fresh Flour Company pay their UK farmers a fair price for their grain, and they make sure that the standards of welfare and agriculture are respectable (though not necessarily certified organic).
Click here to shop our new pasta and choose the Heritage Grain pasta that’s right for you. And get your creative mind working on how to wow your family and friends with it. I think this needs your pictures too, send us your snaps and we’ll put the best ones on the BakeryBits IG account.