Al Dente

July 9, 2014 / All, Artisans and Farmers / Comments: 0

In 1981, Al Dente rolled out their first sheets of pasta dough and the high quality dried product hit the market at a select few specialty grocery stores—Ann Arbor’s Zingerman’s Deli and Chicago’s Treasure Island. Since then, the company has grown significantly and their delectable pasta is now available all over the country as well as in Canada. It’s no surprise that Al Dente has been such a success as their pastas are unique, easy to cook, and absolutely delicious. They use high quality ingredients and traditional methods many others skip for convenience, making their pasta so special!

A week ago, I had the privilege of making the acquaintance of Monique Deschaine, one of the founders of Al Dente, and one of the warmest people I have ever met. I found myself at the small batch manufactory while picking up the latest order of pasta for FarmRaiser. Al Dente was one of FarmRaiser’s inaugural partners in southeast Michigan and has been a part of almost every fundraising campaign that has taken place in the area. They package their “shorter than normal” pasta pieces for us and sell them at a significantly reduced price so that the organization running the campaign is able to make a higher profit. It’s one of the many ways that Al Dente gives back to their community. Monique congenially chatted with me as she finished counting and packing our boxes of pasta. Her joyful presence made the seemingly mundane task really pleasant (this sentiment is shared for most of our vendors – we love visiting them in their element)! Of course she couldn’t help but send us away with some of her pasta to try.

Tonight, after discovering that my mom had bought a beautiful filet of salmon, I decided to try one of the many recipes that Monique has posted on Al Dente’s website. It was absolutely delicious and simple to make. Monique has posted a lot of  quick recipes that have just a few ingredients, making it possible to have a complete homemade meal in about 20 minutes. The recipe I followed called for salmon, mushrooms, and Boursin cheese. Because we had some in the refrigerator, I included kale and onions as well for some extra veggie goodness.

I used the Bona Chia Spinach Fettuccine, which is made with chia seeds and therefore packed with fiber, omega 3s, and protein. Thispasta variety complemented this recipe really well. The spinach flavor came through, but was by no means overpowering. When you make Al Dente pasta, be sure to follow the cooking instructions carefully, as it’s easy to overcook!

Look for Al Dente in our fundraisers, and be sure to visit Al Dente to see everything they have to offer, peruse the recipes, and find a store near you that sells their products.


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