During the brightly colored neon adventures of the eighties, a small pasta company cropped up in the midst of grocery store shelves full of cardboard boxes stuffed with ‘enriched’ elbow macaroni and powdered “cheese.” To Monique Deschaine there was just something missing, something different and unsatisfying about the pasta available to her. She wanted homemade pasta taste right off the shelf, and she unknowingly created a mini-gourmet pasta revolution with her company, al dente pasta.
Working her way through recipes and techniques, pouring herself into books and other literature; Monique learned her way through with the help of teachers, and eventually finding her greatest mentor – an Italian cuisine master, Marcella Hazan. From her, Monique learned that rolling the dough creates the homemade taste she had been looking for, a thicker pasta that she found lacking inthe grocery store. Most other pastas are made by force extruding through a die and dried from there. Al dente pasta found that using the more labor and time intensive method of rolling provided the taste and mouth-feel they were going for. We’re happy that she did. Before Al dente, there wasn’t nearly anything like it on the shelves. As an added bonus, all of her pasta takes almost no time to cook, going from package to plate in just a few minutes. This pasta is also so flavorful that it doesn’t require sauce, we love it with a touch of good extra virgin olive oil, and maybe a grind of salt and pepper – thats all it needs; making it great for pasta salads.
Another part of Monique’s passion, that we love, is her work with the growers and millers, connecting the bridges of farming, manufacturing and artistry. Their not just pasta makers, but manufacturers of great tasting, handmade pastas. Al dente also brings fantastic pastas like the pappardelle and even inventing mixed theme bags like their Land and Sea. We may be skipping one of the greatest aspects of al dente pasta, it’s locally made. In the great state of Michigan, a little factory of hard working artisans make this super-fine pasta. We think we’re pretty lucky to have such an excellent manufacturer of such tasty pasta right near us.
We thank Monique on all of hard work. You can pick up a bag or three on our shelf, if we haven’t ate it all already.