PastaPresta Perfection

Being primarily of Puerto Rican and Italian heritage there was a small joke about me in middle school regarding the cuisine of my two cultures. That joke went something like, “So what do you eat for dinner, lasagna and rice and beans?” To which I always replied, “No. I wouldn’t mix the two carbs during the same meal.” That whole scene played in my head at the PastaPresta press invite at SoNo MarketPlace where I had no issue having carbs in every course, in fact, I welcomed it.

PastaPresta is one of the newest additions to the ever growing SoNo MarketPlace and is the creation of Bill and Meri Erickson of New Canaan and their partner Mario Cavestany of Madrid, Spain. The trio all have an appreciation for the farm-to-table concept and that’s pretty clear based on their backgrounds. Meri’s love of food dates back to her childhood, gardening on her family’s property and caring for farm animals. Later in life she went on to study culinary arts in Paris at Le Notre and Le Cordon Bleu and eventually at the International Culinary Center in New York. Combine Meri’s experience with Bill’s passion for the neighborhood markets in Paris and overall love of seasonal goods, and Mario’s farm and pasta making knowledge, and PastaPresta was born.

 PastaPresta will feature handmade pasta from farm fresh ingredients. The facts about PastaPresta’s ingredients are…their flour is the highest quality semolina, durum and whole grain, they use Pete & Gerry’s Organic Pastel Blue Eggs, and when infusing pasta or stuffing ravioli PastaPresta looks to local farms in Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, New York.  
Besides the amazingly fresh, and great product they are putting out, PastaPresta has a gadget in back of their MarketPlace stand that will have you wondering, “What the heck is that thing?” That machine you see, is the one that preps the product, it is called Pastation by Pama Parsi Macchine. This Johnny Five (“Short Circuit” reference? Come on!) version of your grandma’s pasta maker can make pasta and raviolis and can cut sheets of pasta to your specifications. If you’re wondering what kind of pastas this thing can make, well it’s probably easier to start with what it cannot make. This machine is just THAT good and is the only one of its kind in the United States and just the fifth in the world.  
Now, remember that whole thing I said about mixing carbs in one sitting? Back to that. This press invite was pasta focused (obviously) with a few nice surprises from some of SoNo MarketPlace’s family of vendors. We started our taste buds with oysters on the half shell and stuffed clams from Bloom Brothers and prosecco at Up the Creek Bar. Then with some help from a few of the market’s eateries, it was time to sit down, roll up our sleeves, and do this. 

Waiting at the place settings, courtesy of Festivities, was a minted pea shooter and a ricotta cheese crostini topped with an oven roasted grape tomato that reminded me of a mini pizza. I could have eaten all of these that were prepared. Our first pasta offering, three cheese egg ravioli served with Wise Guys marinara sauce, was a huge hit amongst the writers. It was simple and it seemed everyone cleared their plates. They barely had to wash my dish after the mop up job I did with a piece of Green Leaf Bakery’s bread. 
I actually thought the ravioli would be my favorite dish of the night until the heirloom tomato casarecce came out. The pasta sat in a spinach and artichoke pesto with a crispy parmesan garlic crostini. The sauce was extra creamy and the tomato flavor in the pasta came through. If people were not near me, shoving my face in the bowl would have happened.  
Our final pasta dish was seafood based, yes, even the pasta. You know what that means? Squid ink! The squid ink linguini was served with scallops and a blood orange olive oil. If you don’t know what to expect with squid ink pasta, think along the lines of the ocean, meaning brininess. 
If all that wasn’t enough, we kept the indulgence going with a cheese plate by Plum Plums, an array of sweet treats from Pecan Patti (now a major addiction), and a crostate choice by Maura & Nuccia

While I got full all over again just writing this, you should get all the right stuff to make your next meal or have your next cooked meal at SoNo MarketPlace and visit these great people and the terrific products they put out. After you stock up at the market, don’t forget the fresh pasta and stop by PastaPresta on your way out.

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