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Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

By Liza Agrba| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

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This is the brand-new bricks-and-mortar home in Little Portugal for Pasta Forever, a business that started as a pandemic-born side hustle by one-woman show Jessica Maiorano. The former Woodlot pasta chef made a name for herself selling uncommon pasta shapes, such as flower-like ravioli and candy-shaped caramelle; she’s since expanded her repertoire to include everything you need for dinner, and then some.

Besides a selection of fresh pasta and bread, the shelves are lined with a mix of Maiorano’s house-made staples—velvety onion-butter tomato sauce, marinated pecorino, black truffle compound butter—and curated products like bottles of peppery Sicilian olive oil and cans of Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes. At least six pasta shapes—two filled, two hand-rolled and two extruded—are available any given week. Maiorano showcases her creativity in the rotating weekly meal kit, which she sees as a chance to highlight experimental flavour combinations and lean into seasonality. A recent edition featured spelt gnocchi in a mascarpone cream sauce finished with roasted fennel, radicchio and herbs. For now, you can only take the goods home. When dine-in opens, Maiorano plans on serving lunch every Friday.

The space was previously a hair salon:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

This is the crunchy, cheesy sfincione, otherwise known as Sicilian-style pizza. A fluffy focaccia base is topped with smoked mozzarella, anchovy and tomato sauce. Bread crumbs, pecorino and oregano make up the top layer. $6 per slice:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

And here’s Maiorano at her pasta-making station, where she makes her goods and hosts (online-only, for now) pasta-making classes:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

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Ravioli filled with whipped ricotta, basil and mint is a Pasta Forever mainstay:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

Like all of Maiorano’s stuffed pasta, the dough is made of eggs and 00 flour, which gives it just the right stretch and pliability. $28 for 20 pieces (so about two servings):

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

A nest of bronze-extruded bucatini, made with a semolina and egg base. Try this shape with one of Pasta Forever’s house-made compound butters, like the cacio e pepe butter—melt it in with a touch of starchy pasta water for a creamy, emulsified sauce. $12 for 300g (two servings):

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

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See the nooks and crannies in this rigatoni? That’s the sign of pasta that’ll hold onto its sauce. $12 for 300g (two portions):

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

Here are some of the curated goods on offer, including house-made focaccia croutons and honey-spiced nuts. Should you want to embark on your own pasta adventure at home (perhaps with one of Maiorano’s online workshops), check out the selection of top-quality flour:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

When was the last time you saw solid (non-flaked) tuna in a can? Well, here it is, along with top-shelf olive oil, capers and other Italian essentials:

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Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

Marinating pecorino in olive oil and herbs softens its texture and tempers its saltiness—a delightful new way to enjoy the popular cheese:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

Notice the two pestos on the bottom row: on the left you have vegan Sicilian pesto made with toasted almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and capers; on the right a verdant dandelion pesto with kale, basil, parmesan, and toasted walnuts. They’re equally delicious sides of the pesto coin:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

 

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Ciao, Jess:

Inside Pasta Forever, a new takeout counter and Italian pantry that started as a side hustle

Pasta Forever, 1693 Dundas St. W., pastaforever.ca, @pastaforeverto

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