We caught up with co-founder Francesco Boggian, of the husband and wife duo behind La Tua’s pillowy, handmade fresh pasta, and his team at their North London kitchen.
Take a peek behind the scenes at La Tua’s kitchen (above)
‘La Tua’ translates to ‘yours’ in Italian. What inspired you to start making pasta?
It came by coincidence. I was 28 when I started the company in 2006 and my wife Carolina was 27 – I didn’t expect to have my own business. Before La Tua I worked for another pasta company for a couple of months, however I decided I wasn’t the right person for the job. This experience drove us to have our own business and to try to do something different. At that point we were supposed to get married and everything with the business as well as the family started around the same time (Carolina and Francesco now have five children). It’s been a big gamble, but we do put in a lot of effort too. Since day one we started to develop a good range of pasta for people to enjoy and we work all the time to improve upon recipes and add new lines.
What’s the secret behind your 200+ varieties of fresh pasta?
We go back to Italy to visit family in-between work when we can. In a way all the recipes have been developed on our own. Many times chefs, [in the restaurants La Tua supply] have given us inspiration, they ask us to develop a recipe and thanks to them we are able to turn it into a product. Sometimes you use a little instinct, sometimes you can create something new out of a mistake, but the recipes really come from our own development within the team.
Francesco and Carolina enjoying the La Tua ride
What would your grandmother say…
I grew up in the North-East of Italy, one and a half hours from Venice. My grandmother was a big pasta maker and there’s one picture of me making it when I was little but it really wasn’t until 18 that I was able to cook! My grandmother was great at making tagliatelle and lasagne.
What are your thoughts on British cooking?
British cooking has developed so much in the past 10 years. Expectations are very high and we have to perform at our best all the time. You can see how through television programmes, the quality of restaurants and magazines on food, there really is a huge passion for food here. In British cuisine the standard is now really high and particularly in London which is such a foodie city. London is a wonderful city for food – you are really spoilt for choice!
Mushrooms simmering with garlic and white wine for mushroom and cheese ravioli
What do you think is wrong with the current food system?
Food waste is probably one of the biggest issues. We need to avoid it and be on top of it by making small steps to make changes. I think everybody has to do their own bit to try to eat as much as possible of what they buy. I believe more awareness will create a culture for a new generation who will try to not to throw away anything.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Courgette risotto. We had family meal, my wife cooked the courgettes and I cooked the risotto – we shared the cooking 50/50!
What’s your favourite pasta?
It has to be our wild boar tortelloni! I also love penne or macaroni pasta, with a simple tomato sauce or ragu bolognese.
Freshly made tortelloni ready to be packaged
What are you tips for cooking the fresh perfect pasta?
Instead of al dente, I prefer pasta that is a little more cooked and served with a simple sauce. Melting in butter and parmesan to freshly cooked pasta is very good – it’s nice and creamy but also has an excellent flavour. Keeping it simple is really the best.
What do you like about working with Farmdrop?
The best thing is to be able send our pasta directly to customers and give great value for money too. Farmdrop are great at working with small producers like us – helping us to be known more widely and in turn supporting our business. It’s a real pleasure to have individual feedback from customers too.
What have you learned along the way?
It’s been a great journey, some moments have been dramatic and some moments have been wonderful but our focus is still to have our clients happy and our team happy. Since we started nearly ten years ago it’s always been a family business. Carolina and I help each other, we split the duties and we couldn’t really work without each other. We need to be grateful too for our great staff, like Jessica our Sales Manager, and other people in the team who are a really strong support for the company. We simply couldn’t do it without them.
Three words that sum up La Tua:
Simple, straightforward, and tasty! We try not to complicate things.