• Feature

Nella Pasta

We couldn’t dream up a more fitting place for two foodies to fall in love with pasta than in Florence—and that is precisely where Leigh Foster and Rachel Marshall’s pasta story began. They didn’t meet in Italy, however. While studying abroad, each was entirely unaware that the other was only blocks away. Their lives intersected years later while working for the same Boston design firm. On lunch breaks they discussed their mutual passion for cooking—and soon it dawned on the duo that a desk job simply wasn’t cutting it. After all, Marshall had studied culinary arts, and Foster grew up on a farm.

Fate finally stepped in when both Foster and Marshall were laid off on the very same day in the winter of 2008. The blow proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it forced them to finally pen a plan to launch a pasta company.

In the spring of 2009, Nella Pasta made its debut at the Hingham Farmers Market with fettuccine in three flavors: white, whole wheat, and wheat with ground flaxseed. Since then, the Quincy-based company has become known for its lineup of 12 inventive ravioli flavors, which includes pierogi-inspired Potato, Leek & Roasted Garlic; Broccoli, Feta & Toasted Cashew; and decadent Mushroom Duxelles with red onion and sweet Marsala wine reduction. A fall favorite, the Roasted Butternut Squash & Sage is bursting with brown butter, while the Three Cheese ravioli gets a sophisticated twist from puréed great northern white beans and nutty whole grain dough.

Nella Pasta has a knack for getting kids to eat their veggies, too, by sneaking them in—something they’ve discovered through positive customer feedback. For example, the company banishes the characteristic bitterness of kale by adding sweet, tangy dried currants to one popular ravioli.

The word nella translates to “in the” in Italian. As Foster and Marshall carefully consider the ingredients that go into the pasta—locally sourced seasonal vegetables and herbs, artisanal cheeses, and high-quality nuts and dried fruits—the name makes sense. Their dedication to quality has not gone unnoticed; the Corn, Caramelized Onion & Thyme ravioli won a prestigious sofi Award in 2015.

Craving some carby goodness? The company currently has an outpost at The Boston Public Market, where you can participate in pasta-making and cooking classes. The ravioli are also sold at several Whole Foods stores and specialty grocers around the Boston area, including Formaggio Kitchen, American Provisions, City Feed and Supply, and Bacco’s Wine + Cheese. You’ll also find them at a number of farmers markets, such as Copley Square, Brookline, Braintree, and Hingham.

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