“Tinned ravioli is strange”. We asked Edinburgh's best pasta producers about their favourite recipes and pasta disasters

The capital has seen the launch of new and artisan pasta makers over lockdown

Published 24th Sep 2021
Updated 24 th Sep 2021

We asked five of the most exciting new Edinburgh-based (and one from Fife) pasta producers to tell us a bit more about their love of this carb.

Milena Burattelli of The Artisan Pasta Maker, Edinburgh (Instagram @theartisanpastamaker)

I’ve been working in Edinburgh kitchens since I moved here, from Maremma in Tuscany, aged 18. My business was founded in 2018, and my shop is at 47 Boswall Parkway. We offer a wide range of fresh and filled pasta, as well as lasagna, cannelloni, and iconic desserts. We also attend Leith Market on Saturdays, Stockbridge Market on Sundays.

When did you fall in love with pasta?

The day I was able to chew a mouthful. When I first moved to Edinburgh and saw the pasta that the majority of Italian restaurants were serving, I wanted to show people what proper pasta is supposed to taste like.

Favorite pasta shape?

Tagliolini or bigoli, with a rich sauce like a ragu.

Favorite autumn/winter pasta dish?

Wild boar pappardelle. It brings back fond memories of spending time with my family as a child, during a typical autumn Sunday lunch. Everything was sourced locally from family members. Be it wild boar hunted by my uncle, my mother’s mushrooms picked from the forest or pumpkins from a neighbour.

Biggest pasta faux pas?

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Chicken pasta. We don’t do this in Italy, and it makes us cringe. Also, please wait for your pot of water to boil and only then, after a healthy handful of salt is added to the water, put the pasta in. Tinned ravioli is strange. It doesn’t exist in Italy and I’ve not dared try it.

Harris McNeill

Harris McNeill of Eastfield Pasta, Fife (Instagram @eastfield_pasta)

I started the slow dried pasta business during lockdown, operating from Guardswell Farm and using organic wholemeal flour from Scotland the Bread. Being out of work during lockdown reignited my love for pasta and gave me focus. Before that, I worked in Edinburgh as head chef in Elliot’s - totally amazing place. Stockists for my pasta now include Aran, two.eight.seven, Or in Skye and Ballintaggart.

What do you love about pasta?

It’s a simple two ingredient and therapeutic process, and so subjective, everyone has a different recipe or technique.

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Favourite shape?

Bucatini. Traditionally it’s paired with guanciale-based sauce. So good for slurping.

Favourite autumn/winter pasta dish?

Bolognese ragu. We have a smallholding and produce our own lamb and vegetables. There’s nothing better than the feeling of making every element.

Any pasta faux pas?

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Throwing out your pasta water. You need that glutenly starchy water to emulsify and give you that sticky creamy sauce.

Giada Betti of Aemilia, Edinburgh, www.aemilia.online.com

We created Æmilia because we wanted to bring a piece of Italy to the area, focusing mainly on the Emilia-Romagna region. We started rolling pasta and delivering locally in May 2020, and we never imagined we would open our pastificio at 186 High Street, Portobello, in June 2021.

Favourite pasta shape?

Tagliatelle - we prepare it with a beautiful texture. Tagliatelle al ragù is a must when visiting Emilia-Romagna.

Favourite autumn/winter pasta dish?

Tortellini in brodo. These are tiny pasta parcels filled with mortadella, Prosciutto and Parmesan served in a heart-warming chicken broth.

What's the biggest pasta faux pas?

Supermarket pasta is made and packed by machines and that reflects in the price and taste.

Stefano Pieraccini

Stefano Pieraccini, Rico’s Pasta Bar and Rico’s Ristorante, Edinburgh, www.ricosristorante.co.uk

We have a dedicated pasta bar within the new Bonnie & Wild Scottish Marketplace in St James Quarter. There are seven options on the menu which showcase the very best produce Scotland has to offer, such as Peelham Farm spicy organic pork ragu. You’ll also find pasta at Rico’s on North Castle Street, where the dishes are refined.

When did you fall in love with pasta?

As a child it was a staple. I have loved it from the moment I could eat.

Favourite pasta shape?

Tordelli. Since the age of about five I can remember going to Italy and eating this almost every night.

Favourite autumn/winter pasta dish?

Tordelli lucchesi al sugo di carne. It’s filled with meat and is one of the most well-known traditional pasta dishes in Tuscany.

Biggest pasta faux pas?

Spaghetti hoops.

Andrew McHarg, of Fresca Pasta, www.frescapasta.co.uk

I started Fresca in 2018 as a small pop-up event. I was frustrated by the lack of good pasta options and wanted to serve something that was informal, delicious and value for money. Since then Fresca has taken on various forms including: pop-up events at Spry Wines, Hey Palu, Alby’s, Borough and Little Fitzroy; fresh pasta retail throughout lockdown; and private dining.

When did you fall in love with pasta?

As a kid in Rome with my family and extended Italian family, enjoying my first real carbonara. I love the simplicity. With four ingredients and enough technique you can create a world class dish.

Favourite pasta shape?

Bucatini. It’s like thick spaghetti with a hollow core. Your sauce soaks into the middle. I love it with a squid ragù and it works best with creamier sauces.

Favourite autumn/winter pasta dish?

Lasagne. It makes me feel like I’m at home again.

Biggest pasta faux pas?

Thinking that fresh pasta is automatically better than dried. There are a lot of variables and both have their well earned place.

Also thinking that you can dry fresh pasta for the same result as a commercially dried pasta. They are two entirely separate processes with a lot of chemistry and physics to consider.

The Artisan Pasta Maker

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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