Number 16: Baia Pasta's Durum Pastas

Categories: SFoodie's 50
Baia_Pasta.jpg
Andrew Nilsen
Baia Pasta's durum spinners.
SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

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Fresh artisan pasta has been a staple of farmers markets and natural-foods stores since the 1980s, so you'd think the arrival of one more would be cause for, well, nothing. But Renato Sardo and Dario Barbone's Baia Pasta is producing dried pastas you're not likely to see outside Italy. Using North American wheat, spelt, and kamut, the two craft pastas in shapes like mohawks (aka creste di gallo), accordions (rocchetti) and spinners (conchiglioni).

The shapes have heft and texture. Their walls are a millimeter or two thick, and it's almost impossible to shatter one in your hands. They're rough to the touch when dry, and maintain enough of that quality to pick up sauce as eagerly as a paintbrush. The durum-wheat shapes, SFoodie's favorite, take almost 15 minutes of boiling to reach al dente, and it's a true al dente -- this pasta has a presence. It challenges you to think carefully about what you toss it with. Will the sauce be robust enough? Will it stand up to the pasta's earnest, wheaty flavor? It's special-occasion pasta, even if that occasion is the purchase of a decent bottle of barbera and spring's first purchase of green garlic from the market.

Baia Pasta: 431 Water St. (Jack London Square), Oakland, www.baiapasta.com. Also available at selected markets, including Bi-Rite, Fatted Calf, and the Pasta Shop in Oakland.

Other favorites in this series:
17: Z&Y's flaming fish with chile oil
18: Auntie April's fried catfish
19: None but the Brave from Heaven's Dog
20: Saha's vegan kibbeh
21: Starter Bakery's hazelnut kouign amann
22: Pupusas at Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo
23: 2 a.m. apple fritter at Bob's
24: Le Sanctuaire's vadouvan
25: Crab louis salad at Nettie's Crab Shack
26: Soy sauce chicken from Happy Bakery & Deli
27: Locanda's Jewish-style artichoke
28: Local: Mission Eatery's asparagus-egg sandwich
29: Memphis Minnie's 18-hour brisket
30: Custard buns from City View
31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami
32: Panisse frites from Frances
33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi
34: Fatted Calf's chorizo
35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas
36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager
37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company
38: Broken Record's crawfish grits
39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 
40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Baia Pasta

431 Water St., Oakland, CA

Category: General

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