When chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi opened Venetian bacaro SRV nearly two years ago, it was the first Boston restaurant to mill its own flour in house. “The most important thing that makes the pasta stand out, for us at least, is the grain,” says O’Donnell, who notes SRV’s own flour is used in every aspect of cooking, save for dredging, which means the mill’s running constantly. Lombardi adds: “Every bread loaf is 100 percent made in house; every piece of pasta is 100 percent made in house.” Here, the pair gives us a taste of rolling out the dough in the South End hotspot’s basement pasta room.
The SRV team grinds Massachusetts-based Four Star Farm’s soft wheat grains for this delicate flour that’s sifted. “We can mill 50 pounds of flour an hour,” Lombardi says. “Sometimes for pasta we want it to be superfine, but maybe for bread we want it to be a little more coarse. We can control that with the two different screens we have, plus the number of times we sift it.”
Eggs get added to a blend of the two flours to make dough, which sits for an hour or two until the liquid’s absorbed and the gluten rests. “Every day we probably make 10 pounds,” O’Donnell says.
Durum grains from Hayden Mills in Arizona are ground into an unsifted whole wheat flour that’s packed with semolina and bran. “We try to maintain as much of the three different parts of the grain in the final product for fuller flavor,” Lombardi says.
This handmade wooden slab with a carved pattern—called a cavarola board—is used with a dowel to form dough into a tubular-shaped pasta, garganelli, that SRV’s currently dressing with ’nduja-carrot sugo and pea green pesto. “You take the square and roll it over this board, and it makes little ‘quills’—that’s what garganelli means,” O’Donnell says.
With a wooden handle and sharp brass tip, this Italian-made cutting tool has an exaggerated diagonal edge that’s used for scoring raviolis. And this corzetti stamp, made by the same artisans, cuts out patterned disks. O’Donnell says: “It’s a pasta shape that’s from Liguria in the northwest.”