By Richard Moorey
THERE IS something special happening in Thunder Bay and it’s making taste buds all over the region happy. We are seeing a surge of new restaurants, amazing high end products in our grocery stores, more availability of luscious and fresh farm products and a new surge in locally produced foods.
As a chef this is something to get excited about but as a foodie it’s the stuff that gives you foodgasms.
From local coffee roasters and distillers of fine bitters to soup and sauce makers and cheese producers we are a pretty lucky city. We have a perogy manufacturer, a local brewery, chocolatiers, bakers, water companies, a dairy, flour millers and so many other great companies that contribute to the tastitude of the region.
Most of you know I spent a lot of years as a Chef at various Italian establishments and although I’m striking out on my own I still am deeply attached to the rustic deliciousness that is Italian cuisine.
I have recently discovered a local pasta company that has got me creating some amazing pasta dishes that I definitely thought are worthy of sharing.
Andrew Murchison and his wife began Big Lake Pasta after returning to Thunder Bay after some time in Calgary. They saw Big Lake Pasta as an opportunity to fill a niche in a community that loves its Italian food. The name was derived from our proximity to Lake Superior which was something they missed while they were out west. The Murchison’s have since developed a full line of pastas to compliment the huge array of local foods and produce available right here at home.
Andrew has memories of making pasta dishes at home as a child and even taking some cooking classes through high school. He has always had an affinity for good scratch made cooking and especially loved making great fresh pasta.
Andrew has had his fresh pasta in the market since July and has now been supplying restaurants and has recently been able to make himself available in a few local stores such as Maltese and Vitality.
He takes a lot of pride in the wide variety of flavours and styles he has to offer. He creates his pasta in smaller batches using the semolina, water and natural flavourings. Through his vintage Italian equipment, the dough is extruded through bronze dies to give it their designated shapes a rough texture that is perfect for holding the sauce.
Andrew is always looking for a new way to create another delicious and unique pasta and is never bored with all the pastabilities. So the next time you have a craving for a great pasta whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner give Big Lake Pasta a try and see what local deliciousness you can find right here at home.
Chef House’s Big Lake Pasta Bacon and Tomato Florentine Campanelle with Marrow Bones and Garlic Toast
- Bread for garlic toast
- Garlic Butter
- 1 lb. Big Lake Pasta Campanelle
- 4 marrow bones
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 slices of bacon chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tps. chopped fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup roughly chopped spinach
- 2 tbps. salt or to taste
- 2 tbps. tomato paste
- 28-ounce cans diced Stanislas tomatoes (or your brand)
Bacon Tomato Florentine Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and bacon and sauté until the bacon is cooked. Add the bay leaf, basil, garlic, spinach and salt and cook, stirring often, until the softened about ten minutes.
Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for five minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for one hour, stirring every five minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Marrow Bones and Toast
Pre Heat oven to 350F
Place marrow bones on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Toast bread and butter for serving with marrow bones.
Pasta and Assembly
Cook Campanelle in a large amount of generously salted water. Toss with sauce and serve topped with Parmagiana Reggiano, marrow bones and garlic toast.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.