Specialty pasta maker sees success with new noodles
NEW YORK — Pasta is poised to return, as consumers continue to seek comfort and familiarity amid the pandemic, according to the Specialty Food Association in its latest Trend Forecast. Sfoglini, the New York-based brand bringing something new to the noodle aisle, offers new twists on the traditional dish.
The company’s cascatelli pasta was named by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2021, alongside COVID-19 home testing kits, self-driving delivery vehicles and flip smart phones. The new shape is the result of several years of research and development, imagined by the host of the podcast “The Sporkful” Dan Pashman on three criteria: “sauceability”, “forkability” and “toothsinkability”.
“He felt like every pasta shape that was out there, he would try and fit into maybe one or two of them, but couldn’t capture all three,” said Scott Ketchum, co-founder and CEO of Sfoglini.
Cascatelli, the Italian word for “waterfalls,” is inspired by existing bucatini and mafaldine pasta, featuring a half-tube shape with ruffled edges, Mr. Ketchum said. The product debuted last March and quickly became the brand’s bestseller.
“We’ve floated the hope of selling 10,000 to 20,000 pounds over a few months, which is a pretty good amount for a new form and getting it into the market,” Mr Ketchum said. “We sold that in an hour.”
Founded in 2012, Sfoglini (pronounced sfo-lee-nee) produces a range of specialty pastas formulated with organic ingredients, including semolina, rye, emmer, einkorn and spelled, cultured and ground flours in the USA. The company uses traditional bronze dies and plates, creating a rough texture that helps the sauce stick, and slowly dries each batch at low temperatures to lock in flavor and nutrients.
Prior to launching the company, Mr. Ketchum served as creative director and graphic designer for nearly two decades, and co-founder Steve Gonzalez was a chef and pasta maker in kitchens across the United States and Europe.
“At that time, you didn’t see a lot of unique shapes on the shelves; you haven’t seen quality pasta from the United States or the New York area at all,” Ketchum said. “It was only Italian imports, and you mainly saw your traditional penne and rigatoni on the shelves. Using Steve’s knowledge of the pasta and shapes that exist and his experience in the kitchen, we have put together a unique set of pastas that we believe will bring excitement and innovation to the pasta department and would also complement the things the chefs were doing themselves. ”
Six years later, the company outgrew its operations in Brooklyn and moved upstate to Coxsackie to increase production capacity.
Today, Sfoglini products are sold in over 1,000 stores across the country, including Whole Foods Market, Fresh Grocer and National Grocers. The company also supplies pasta to New York restaurants, schools and food banks.
“Catering used to be about 30-40% of our business before the pandemic, but it’s dropped drastically to about 10%,” Ketchum said. “We hope to see that peak go back up this year.”
Varieties include beet fusilli, squid ink spaccatell, spelled macaroni, hemp rigatoni, porcini trumpets, whole grain radiators and more. Sfoglini is also testing limited-edition options through its pasta club of the month.
“Cascatelli’s success is really exciting,” Mr. Ketchum said. “It really inspired us, to see how many people loved seeing this innovation come to pasta. Especially after many years of gluten-free pasta taking center stage in the pasta industry… Gluten-free is not going to not go away and that’s something a lot of people need, but it seems like most people gave up on pasta and nothing new was going to happen there, and I think we’ve changed that now. keep growing that.”