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Northwest Homegrown 1

Pozza’s Pasta Perfection

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Fair warning, once you try Pozza’s Pasta, you may not want to purchase any store-bought pasta ever again. All national companies pale in comparison to this Northwest Arkansas pasta-making operation.

“Pozza’s Pasta was originally founded by Felix Pozza in 1979. His family owned the local mercantile in Tontitown. Customers would often stop by inquiring about the pasta that was served in the local Italian restaurants and he realized there was a demand for it. Shortly after that he began crafting pastas to sell in his store. Flash forward many years and my husband, Lucius, and I, acquired Pozza’s in 2005. He grew up going to the Catholic church in Tontitown where every year the parish made pasta by hand to sell at the annual grape festival. So, he learned from an early age how to make pasta,” says Alison Mhoon.

Pozza’s Pasta offers various flavors and pasta varieties, including spinach spaghetti, garlic and parsley linguini, whole wheat spaghetti, tomato and basil linguini and traditional angel hair, spaghetti and linguini. Through the years, I have tried them all and have yet to be disappointed in any of them. For first-timers, I recommend the traditional spaghetti. You will find this pasta to have a tad flatter shape and a bit softer texture than grocery store brands.

“Typical store-bought pasta is made with water and durum wheat or semolina flour. This makes a stiffer noodle with more gluten that allows the pasta to be made by extrusion, causing rounded spaghetti noodles. This extra gluten also causes the noodles to be gummier when cooked. Our pasta is made with all-purpose flour and egg. This makes for a more pleasurable texture and the egg adds a richer flavor to the pasta. Also, instead of extruding our pasta, we knead it by hand, roll it out and then cut it. It is then hung over wooden dowel rods and dried overnight while adjusting the temperature and humidity to ensure that the pasta dries correctly. This process gives the noodles flat edges which help to hold sauce and give a better texture. Our process is more time-consuming and labor-intensive, but over the five generations that our families and customers have been eating this, we feel that it is worth it,” says Mhoon.

I happen to agree with her.

For Mhoon, the difficulties of making perfect pasta extend beyond the tedious and time-consuming nature of the process.

“There is definitely an art to it. If the air is too dry or wet, it affects how the pasta dries and the color. We typically make the dough and cut the pasta one day and then return the next day to bag it.”

From the taste of things, the Mhoons have mastered their craft. Now go find out for yourself and purchase a few boxes.

Did You Know?

Pozza’s Pasta is sold in Harp’s stores throughout Northwest Arkansas, Whole Foods (Fayetteville and Little Rock), Dimes Meat Market, Ivan’s Meat Market, Allen’s, Richard’s Meat Market, HAM, The Bramble Market, The Robust Olive, The Curve Market, The Green Corner Store, Heights Corner Market, Bell Urban Farm (Conway) and Sonflour Bakery (Dumas). It is also available to purchase on their website.

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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One response to “Pozza’s Pasta Perfection”

  1. […] From the moment I took a gander at this recipe, one thing stood out: a lack of pasta. It calls for 8 ounces, but I say use the full package (16 ounces). If you have to increase some of the other ingredients, but honestly, I found that the amounts worked great with the additional pasta. For excellent Arkansas-made pasta, see Pozza’s. […]

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