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Food La La: Onda Pasta is bellissimo
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Hey pasta fans, this week’s post is especially for you! There are times when I just crave for some homemade Italian pasta. That’s why I was very excited to discover Onda Pasta.
Husband and wife team Andrea and Jessica Onetti are very passionate when it comes to Italian cuisine.
“As the oldest of three brothers, Andrea always helped to cook with his mom and grandma,” said Jessica Onetti. “Professionally, Andrea worked in Roman restaurants for about 5 years and received training and certification as a Pizzaiolo or Master Pizza Maker.”
After meeting in Rome, the couple moved to Seattle where Andrea attended culinary school at Seattle Central Community College.
“Onda Pasta is the first business that we have owned, but Andrea has held positions as both front of house, kitchen manager and sous chef,” said Onetti.
Currently, Onda Pasta does not have an actual restaurant, but can be found weekly at the Ala Moana Farmers Market on from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, and the Haleiwa Farmers Market in Waimea Valley from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
“Starting out at farmers markets is a great first step for us,” Onetti said. “The market allows us to really meet our customers, be available on different parts of the island, share our story and build a following before we move on to anything bigger.”
Being at the farmers markets also gives Onda Pasta access to fresh and local ingredients for their dishes.
“Hawaii is a dream come true in that you have some of the freshest food in the world,” said Onetti. “We always go local first for meat, produce, herbs and anything else we can before we source elsewhere.
For example, they get their eggs (they go through tons of them every week!) from Petersons’ Upland Egg Farm in Wahiawa.
“We chose fresh pasta as our main focus because we looked around and saw that there was desire for it and no one else was doing it,” Onetti said. “In Italian-American neighborhoods on the mainland and obviously in Italy, there will be shops that sell fresh pasta just as you would find fresh bread; it’s an integral part of the diet.”
In fact, the flour they use is imported from Italy and is specific for making good pasta. Along with their fresh pasta dishes, they also sell their pasta pre-packaged at the farmers markets. Their Tri-Color pack is a best-seller, with spinach, classic and beet noodles. They also have packaged squid ink noodles, red pepper noodles and stuffed ravioli.
Onda Pasta will offer weekly pop-up dinners next month at Taste in Kakaako. Wednesday, Feb. 20, was their first pop-up lunch service, and I was able to try a few of their dishes.
What I liked about their pasta sauces were that they were light but still have tons of flavors naturally from the ingredients that they used, and their pastas have a great chewy al dente texture.
Tagliantelle Funghi e pachino: Fresh pasta made with Waimanalo Cremini mushrooms and cherry tomatoes ($10).
Gnocchi al Ragu: Potato gnocchi made with meat sauce of Oahu grass fed beef from Circle-C Ranch ($13). This is one of their popular items.
The Roman style gnocchi was my favorite dish! It comes with pomodoro, puttanesca, or beef ragu sauce. I choose the pomodoro sauce ($10). Roman-style gnocchi is a crispy flat pasta cake that is similar to polenta but not as grainy.
“It’s home style comfort food that Andrea’s mom used to make.” said Onetti. “We decided to try it at the markets and it’s been very popular.”
Maui onion risotto with shallots, pecorino, and parmigiano cheese ($13).
Onda Pasta has a few desserts as well. I loved their chocolate mousse ($5) made with Manoa Chocolate. It was super creamy- smooth in every spoonful!
Their crème brulee ($5) was crispy on top and silky on the inside.
For more information on Onda Pasta’s upcoming pop up dinners, visit Taste’s website.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.