We are here to introduce Leah Ferrazzini and her company, Semolina Artisanal Pasta. She's based in Pasadena, CA and has been making pasta since 2014. Her pastas are beloved by prestigious chefs and home cooks across the country for their superlative taste and texture. "Nutty" and "somehow more substantial than just pasta" are some of the words that have been used to describe her work.
She started in her own kitchen while toddlers were at daycare (we can relate!) with the goal of creating pasta that rivaled the best from Italy. She's also been quoted as saying "I think half my job is lifting things", referring to the 50 lb bags of organic semolina flour that she shleps around her workshop (we can relate to that too!) :)
We hope you enjoy our interview with Leah, and that you get the chance to try her amazing pasta!
How did you get started? What were your first steps and how did it evolve from there?
I started making dried pasta in my laundry room back in 2013 while I was on maternity leave with my second child. I’d been working as a food and wine writer, and really wanted to transition to something where I was making things myself instead of talking about people who made things. I couldn’t find locally made, organic dried pasta at the stores, and had watched my free time to make fresh pasta evaporate, and I knew it was the thing I was meant to do.
How did you come up with your name?
Semolina Artisanal Pasta is an homage to our single ingredient—semolina—which is integral to making great pasta. Milled from durum wheat, it’s uniformity and color and unique gluten properties make the best flavored and textured pasta when treated correctly. It seemed natural to honor the ingredient.
Tell us about your workspace!
Our whole setup is just 1600 square feet from kitchen to warehouse to retail shop. My desk is tucked into a corner of the shop by a little chest freezer. It’s intimate. There are windows so customers can watch pasta being made from the shop and the street. It’s a little scrappy, but I really love the intimacy that we have with each other and our customers because of it.
Do you have a favorite review or comment about your products?
*I get so much love from our customers, and their feedback is what keeps me going when times get tough. Feeding people is such a privilege.
"Without doubt this is the best pasta on the planet. Taste and texture that is unmatched on any other pasta. If you make a great sauce this pasta is an absolute must."
What’s your favorite product you sell?
That’s like asking which of my children is my favorite. I cannot answer that. :-)
Are there any great local artisans or small businesses that you’re into right now?
Also, check them out on Instagram at @casamaraclub
Do you have a favorite local restaurant?
Check them out on Instagram, too, @hippohighlandpark
You live in Los Angeles and work in Pasadena: do you have any favorite place to enjoy the beauty of your area?
I live in Los Angeles and work in Pasadena, and I absolutely love hiking up into the San Gabriels. L.A. is actually such a great place to remain connected to nature with all of the cool aspects of a city too.
What's your favorite thing about California?
I’m originally from New York, and it took a really long time for me not to feel like a New Yorker. Actually, it took moving back as an adult to realize how much I love California, from the landscape to the produce to the appreciation of the play and joy.
Another cool thing - Leah was recently profiled by Food & Wine! If you want to read more about her, check out the article here.
Where to find Semolina Artisanal Pasta?
- It's available in our Build A Box, where you can create a custom gift box.
- Check out her website for a larger selection of pasta!
- Visit her shop @ 1976-1978 Lincoln Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
If you enjoyed this blog, check out some of the other artisan profiles we've done in the past: