Have you noticed the significant difference in our pasta dishes lately?! What has added such flavor, texture, and wholesomeness to our Tuscan Lasagna, Chicken Spiedini, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Turkey Bolognese, Shrimp Arrabbiata, etc? That would be Adam Berger’s hand-made pasta. Farm to Fit has recently made the transition from dry pasta to fresh, local pasta that is made right down the street from us! Adam Berger, the long-time owner of Tabla Restaurant (on the corner of NE 28th and Davis), has launched an organic premium pasta line called “Rallenti” which he serves at his restaurant and which is now available to you via Farm to Fit! I got a chance to chat with Adam this morning at Tabla and learned quite a bit about the pasta-making process as well as the artist himself.
Where are you from originally? “Jersey”
How did you get started doing this? “Well, I’ve been making pasta for 20 years. I graduated from culinary school in Arizona and went straight to Italy, where I worked in 4 restaurants making pasta. We used a crank handled extruder, which can take awhile”
What does “Rallenti” mean? “Slow Down”
What ingredients go into making your pasta? And your gluten-free pasta? “Semolina flour and water – and the pasta I make for you guys is whole wheat so I add in some fresh wheat germ. The gluten-free pasta is made with Bob’s Red Mill rice flour, xanthan gum, and eggs.”
What is the key to making THE freshest pasta? “Using the best flour and eggs. The best ingredients in general. We always use semolina flour – a coarser flour that is only milled in certain places in the U.S. Keeping your attention on what you’re doing. A lot of times your hands are just ‘going’, you can’t really just ‘daydream’ you have to make sure you are keeping attention to detail. Also, being aware of how the environment/weather is going to affect your ingredients. Every day is different. Especially the humidity – a batch of pasta can differ by 25 g of water on different days, depending on humidity.”
How long have you had Tabla? And what sets your restaurant apart from other Portland Italian places? “We’ve been here for 12 years. That’s a good question…I’d say that we are well grounded in authentic Italian technique – – with a 2015 Portland twist.”
Check out Tabla Restaurant at http://www.tablapastaevino.com/ and stay tuned to Farm to Fit’s upcoming menus for more Rallenti-inspired creations!