Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

From Field to Fork: Pasta Dave presses for excellence

By
From page A16 | November 27, 2013 |

pasta1W

Pasta maker Dave Brochier shows off a traditional chitarra, which creates a pasta that is particularly absorbent with sauce. Dan Kennedy/Courtesy photo

Dave Brochier makes pasta with all the love and craftsmanship you’d hope for … and then some.

He can regale you for hours about the nuances of pasta. Take chitarra, which he tells me was first made in Abruzzo, Italy, in the 14th century. It’s properly known as spaghetti alla chitarra, the latter being the instrument, similar to a guitar, through which the sheet of fresh pasta is pressed.

“Its rough exterior holds sauce really well,” he explains. People mistake it for spaghetti; it’s actually square. He shows interested shoppers all the production steps on his iPad at his stall in the Davis Farmers Market. A famous Italian chef once suggested that fresh chitarra is like linen, while spaghetti is silk. Brochier fashions other types of pasta as well.

Of course, it all begins with the dough. The hard, mass-produced pasta we all know is made with flour and water usually. The fresh pasta marketed in supermarkets may well have eggs, but it’s mass-produced, involving gallons of generic eggs and machinery like a Teflon meat grinder, which extrudes endless spaghetti.

Pasta Dave, as he markets himself, uses fresh Vega eggs, which are sold at another stall in the Davis market. He also incorporates California olive oil, salt, water and, of course, a high-quality flour — semolina for chitarra.

His pasta is 115 calories per ounce, so it’s not a pasta you’d heap high on a plate. Good thing. “Pasta is not inexpensive,” he explains, referring to his own. “There’s a lot of cost in the eggs, and I use primarily yolks.”

Hand-made in small batches, it all begins with the dough, which sits for five hours. “You want to give it time to rest and hydrate, through osmosis. Moisture travels deeper into the flour. It gives glutens time to relax, and you end up with a better product.”

He can wax on about the changing hues of the fresh yolks through the seasons, as chickens feed differently. His is a perishable end product appreciated for its nuances, in sharp contrast to the one-pound box of supermarket spaghetti in your pantry.

I met Dave long ago, in the kitchen at Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento. That’s where his passion for pasta took shape.

Dave studied engineering in college and has a mad love for cycling as well. In his late 20s he owned a bike shop in Cameron Park. He moved on to Performance Cycling, opening stores for them, and then Sports Rack. But a nascent interest in cooking school drew him to Mulvaney’s to see what it was really like in a restaurant kitchen that worked with everything fresh and local.

He was assigned to make fresh pasta. He soon discovered that this was what he’d been looking for. Cooking school wasn’t necessary. He could bring his engineering precision, his artisan’s eye, to his work at every step along the way.

Dave moved on to make pasta at Tuli’s, also in Midtown Sacramento. From there it was a hop to Taylor’s Market in Sacramento’s Land Park, an iconic independent high-end grocery that caters to locals. He lives nearby with his wife, Sheila, who’s earning her master’s in educational psychology.

In Taylor’s back room he turns out pasta for that store; for Ella, a downtown Sacramento restaurant; and for his fans at the Davis Farmers Market.

He varies his stuffed pasta, agnolotti, a style that originated in the Piedmont region of Italy. One has spigarello. Kale is the trendy vegetable in the United States right now; spigarello is its bitterish counterpart, popular in Puglia in southern Italy. Braising takes the edge off, and ricotta accepts it well to create a stuffing.

In our house, his agnolotti stuffed with baked kabocha squash are popular. But customers’ favorite is one made with roasted corn, mascarpone and thyme. “That’s the one people really love,” Dave says.

Mass-produced pasta is generated through compression, in contrast to being stretched in artisan batches. Not using fresh eggs from the shell — that matters, too. “Those are the differences you taste,” he says.

— Dan Kennedy, a Davis resident, has a long history with the bounty of gardens and small farms. Reach him at kennedynow@yahoo.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
     
    Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

    Record drought saps California honey production

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Weightlifters causing a racket

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

     
    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6