Who doesn’t like a good bowl of comforting pasta? Let me introduce you to the masters of creating artisan pasta in Cambridge, Nonna’s Lab.
Sometimes life takes over! That was the case for the last couple of months. I was on the road touring again, and this time of the year it is a busy time at the allotment, especially as I had taken on another one! It meant less time for recipe development and blogging. On top of this, I am working on a new project which I will soon reveal. This post was long overdue, and I owe a massive apology to Roberto and Gabriella for taking such a long time to share their delicious food on here.
I love being a guinea pig.
Over the summer, I was approached by quite a few companies to review their product and give feedback. It is something I used to do for a living. Back in the 90s, I was product manager/buyer heading up the ready meal departments/delicatessen and the fresh fish for one of the major retailers. So product development was part of my job. A quick visit to a deli or supermarket is barely on the cards as I love checking out new product ranges.
Check out Roberto’s pasta machine.
I was chuffed when Roberto from Nonna’s Lab contacted me, asking me to review his artisan food range. One of my favourite cuisines is Italian. I make everything from scratch, including pizzas. I spotted their fantastic pasta machine when I checked out their website and social media. It makes every form and shape of pasta in seconds. It’s fascinating to watch it. Not a cheap piece of kit!
Roberto hails from the South of Italy, Pulia, and worked in top restaurants in London before coming to Cambridge to work at Parkers Tavern for two years. Earlier this year, Roberto and Gabriella decided to open their place in Ely, serving Artisan Italian food. Due to the pandemic, certain developments are taking a bit longer, but they are ready to go!
Italian food at its best – simple.
Nonna’s Lab offering includes fresh pasta, bread and Focaccia, pasta sauces, pesto and pates and ready-made pasta dishes such as cannelloni and lasagna. On top of that, they sell homemade Italian sausages and Bombette.
Why should you order Bombette?
These delicious morsels are meat rolls made with pork collar, Capocollo and Provolone cheese (or Caciocavallo cheese). They are originally from Puglia but are now famous everywhere in Italy. Everybody loves them. They are perfect for a BBQ but also perfect for roasted or slow-cooked with tomato sauce. The statement on their website that these little beauties are addictive is spot on!
Nonna’s Lab sells the classic version (Capocollo and Provolone), a cheesy version with Mortadella and Taleggio, or a spicy one with ‘Nduja (spicy Calabrian sausage) and Provolone.
Our Italian feast from Nonna’s Lab
It was difficult to make a choice, but we opted for Focaccia, Spaghetti, all Chitarra with Amatriciana sauce and tomato sauce for the Bombette. The Focaccia was still warm when it arrived, and it was hard to resist not to tuck in straight away. It was a perfect match with a glass of Pinot Grigio. Tucking into a bowl of Chitarra with Amatriciana sauce is just what we needed on a grey and cold evening.
Later that weekend, we had the Bombette, which I served with slow-cooked polenta, Cavel Nero and Nonna’s Lab’s tomato sauce. Roberto had given us the classic version and the one with Taleggio. Both are of excellent quality, but the Taleggio one was our favourite. It is best to cook them in a cast-iron pan on the stove or a bbq so it seals quickly and the cheese will not run out.
Must order – the Tiramisu
I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I didn’t order the Tiramisu. Well, that was a huge mistake! Roberto is a dedicated chef. For his Tiramisu, he uses homemade Savoiardi biscuits. Imagine that crunch!
Nonna’s Lab offered the food for free, but he didn’t ask me to share it on social media. The quality of his food is excellent and simple Artisan food, which is precisely what Italian cuisine is all about!