During the pandemic, Mitchell Fagan and Leah Steinberg made homemade pasta for dinner a few nights a week, just to pass the time. The result was a lot of trial and error that eventually led to some great pasta meals – the ones they wanted to share with others.
As a fourth-year medical student at Kansas City University studying emergency medicine, Fagan’s board was already full, but Steinberg convinced him that with her marketing skills and his elaborately crafted macaroons, they could start starting their own business together.
“During the pandemic we’ve thought about how everyone wants to eat restaurant food, but no one can go out, so we thought it might be a fun time to start our own pasta business. We both know fresh pasta isn’t something most people do at home,” says Fagan. . “We thought it could be something that could bring people a little bit of joy, something we look forward to every week.”
Within a few minutes of launch Handmade Zero Zero pastaTheir website and Instagram page, they got their first order, and the pair have been selling every week for the past year.
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Fagan has been making pasta since high school, when he was using his father’s manual pasta maker to make pasta at home. But his passion really blossomed after a trip to Italy three years ago, when he had the chance to watch some Italian grandmothers making all different types of pasta shapes and sizes that went beyond flat pasta. When he got home from that trip, he started taking noodles at home in earnest, never stopping.
“I’m a good student by nature, and I love looking for things, which is probably why I’m studying medicine,” Fagan says. “I’m self-made in most of the things that interest me, including making pasta.”
Every week Fagan offers a creative variety of regular and stuffed pasta. In addition to making more well-known pastas such as pappardelle, farfalle, tortellini and ravioli, Fagan also introduced lesser-known varieties, such as the favorite agnolotti, filled with pumpkin, carrot or lemon-garlic mascarpone. There was also squid ink, beets, spinach, and pasta flavored with cocoa.
Brooke Salvaggio and Dan Heryer built an agricultural oasis – Just miles away from the urban city centre.
“I get a lot of inspiration and flavor from an amazing Brooke product [Salvaggio] and dan [Heryer] It grows on Urbavore Farm,” Fagan says.
Serving one pasta each week, Zero Zero Handmade Pasta opens orders every Friday through Wednesday (or while supplies last). Fagan and Steinberg place pasta orders on Wednesday evenings and deliver fresh pasta to customers’ doors on Thursdays in a small cooler using an ice pack setting. Pastas can also be delivered through Market Wagon, or you can find them at Brookside Farmers’ Market on weekends.
Starting with only the best local ingredients, Fagan uses locally ground flour from Kansas City-based Marion Milling, which is owned by mill and longtime baker Will Berndt and Ibis Bakery founder Chris Match. It takes this flour, along with organic eggs from the Urbafor farm and high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, to make the perfect pasta dough.
“We used to buy ’00’ flour from the shelves to make pasta, but then we found Marion Melling who makes local, stone-ground flour from wheat grown in the region. It has a softer texture and a more complex flavor,” Fagan says. Using stone-ground flour from the more traditional wheat varieties also has more nutrients in it. Flour tastes better.”
And with the appointment of their first employee, the couple are now free to focus more on their doughy business future.
To order your pasta, head over to the Zero Zero website or Instagram.
Zero Zero Pasta, zerozeropastakc.com