A Visit to the Bellingham Pasta Co.
One of my husband’s favorite local companies is Bellingham Pasta Company. He is a runner, and he loves to fuel up on handmade pasta the night before a long run. He goes out of his way to only buy Bellingham Pasta Company pasta. So, when Katie, the proprietress of Bellingham Pasta Company graciously allowed us to make pasta with her in her food grade kitchen, Amanda, Christina and I jumped at the opportunity.
When we walked in, the very first thing we saw was hand lettered signs. That small touch had was a simple thing that showed Katie understands the value of creativity in every aspect of business. It put me instantly at ease.
Katie told us the history of Bellingham Pasta Company. Like many successful brands, she started because she saw a need in the marketplace. She had been driving to Portland to get handmade pasta for her family and saw that our area needed an option like that. She started her pasta company. They sell at all of the local Whatcom County grocers and are slowly expanding to Seattle as well as selling in five farmer’s markets.
The Bellingham Pasta Company strives to be a green facility. They only have one trash bin per week for the entire facility because she believes in minimizing her carbon footprint. Her packaging is made out of corn so it’s compostable.
The extrusion method of making pasta is different than the hand-rolled pasta I’ve been experimenting with. Because it is pressed out under high pressure and weight, the pasta is less delicate than the hand rolled pasta. It also has a more dense texture that takes sauces really well. Some of the pastas were hand cut and some had a mechanical cutting blade. Though they use an extruder machine, the process sill feels extremely handmade. The process needs to be babied; all of the pasta is hand weighed (if not hand cut as well; and of course, the dough has to be hand measured.
During the extrusion process, I kept sneaking tiny bites of the raw dough. Katie graciously looked the other way as I embarrassed myself eating her 100% semolina egg pasta dough.
Katie doesn’t use any salt in her recipe for two reasons. First, she said she likes to keep her pasta as healthy as possible. Second, she mentioned that most sauces have enough salt for flavor already in them. Her recipe is very simple and traditional: semolina flour, egg and water. That’s it. Because of the extrusion method she uses, she doesn’t use any olive oil in her recipe (like I’ve been trying for the hand rolled pasta).
It was so nice to just talk small business with Katie and share a laugh with another multitasking, business-owning mom. Her facility was inspiring because it was so clean and spacious and beautifully organized. She’s figured out what works for her and her business and has dialed it down to a science.
I brought home the freshly made pasta for my husband (on Valentine’s Day no less) with the beautifully blended fettuccini sauce (also from Bellingham Pasta Company). He loved it. Handmade is bestmade, especially with pasta.