Wining & Dining
Peace, Love & Pasta: Pasta Lab Opens in Lake Charles
12/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Italian cuisine lovers, take note – there’s a new one-of a-kind pasta shop in Lake Charles! Pasta Lab creates a variety of fresh pastas from scratch with the highest quality ingredients and made with equipment imported from Italy. "We use tip-top ingredients such as imported Northern Italian soft flour, American hard red wheat flour, cage-free organic eggs, and spring water,” says Michael Gardner, owner of Pasta Lab. 

Gardner first imagined the idea of a pasta manufacturing/retail storefront after leaving a long career in golf and country club management, including a six-year stint at the Lake Charles Country Club in the late 1990s. "I had a clear vision of people coming into a very dynamic environment with metal-clad walls, concrete floor, bright lights and motion, and shopping for pasta, oils and vinegars, and Parmesan cheese.”

Gardner says he became interested in pasta making in the 1990s when his mother gave him a Marcato counter-top hand crank pasta making set. "I had a blast, making all kinds of flats and a few filled things. My enthusiasm waned during my peak career years but returned around 2017. Homemade pasta makes people smile. Whether I give someone a bunch of pasta or I make it for a gathering, people seem to be wonder struck.”  

Gardner’s flat pastas – capellini, spaghetti, fettucine, tagliatelle, pappardelle- are yolk-only pastas and produced from sheets of pasta, compared to grocery pastas which are forced (extruded) through a die, for example, round spaghetti. "Our spaghetti is square, because it is rolled and cut,” explains Gardner. "Fresh or dried? You choose at the shop. Fresh pasta goes home to the boiling pot right away. We roll and cut pasta on-the-spot for folks and can layer in fresh basil, cracked black pepper, or red chili flakes.”

His shaped pastas – rigatoni, fusilli, penne, elbow macaroni, shells- are extruded, out of necessity. "The dies that form the shapes are solid bronze. The pasta produced is intended to showcase the sauce or ragout being served. So, the surfaces are ridged (rigati) or smooth (lisce), as appropriate. Simplified, it’s good!” 

To enhance your pasta experience, Pasta Lab offers an assortment of Italian grating cheeses, such as Parmigiana-Reggiano, Asiago and Pecorino Romano, available as a block or grated. "We have our own grater, so the cheeses are super-fresh,” says Gardner. He also sells a variety of olive oils from around the world with infusions of herbs, florals, and garlic; and balsamic vinegars with flavors such as fig and berry.

Pasta Lab has an in-house studio, complete with closed-circuit monitors, a functioning range, and a touch of quarry tile, where Gardner offers classes on basic pasta making, advanced shapes, and the secrets that make home pasta making easy and clean. More classes with a variety of cooking topics are in the works. "These classes make a great date night for couples, a unique party experience for birthdays and showers, or team building exercises. Bring your own beverages, talk, forget about our troubled world for a little while, and leave feeling good.”

Pasta Lab is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 1301 E. McNeese Street, Suite 105, Lake Charles. Call 337-419-0285, find them on Facebook, or go to www.Pasta.Fun.

Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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