Pasta, pasta, pasta

Above: “Pasta” Dave Deichler. Left: Fresh fettucini from Wolf Creek Pasta Co. cooks in just a few minutes.Bob Pennell

"Pasta Dave" Deichler sits alone in the Wolf Creek Community Center kitchen, methodically slicing into short sections the rotini noodles spiraling out of his pasta machine.

It's late morning, and Deichler has already mixed the perfect quantities of organic eggs, organic semolina (or spelt) flour and quality-tested water. Unless he's making a specialty pasta, these are the only ingredients used in his organic Wolf Creek Pasta, he says.

No oil, no salt and no mixed flours go into his pasta — just a few top-quality ingredients, Deichler says.

"When pasta foams when you boil it, that means they used cheap flour," says Deichler.

By the end of this day, Deichler will have created about 80 pounds of lasagna, linguini and angel hair pasta. The noodles sell for $4 a pound.

"There it is," says Deichler, waving a hand over his piles of pasta. "Ready to be cooked for dinner."

Freshness is the key to his pasta, says Deichler. He'll sell Monday's dough on Tuesday at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market in Ashland, come back to Wolf Creek on Wednesday to make 80 more pounds for Thursday's meeting of the growers market in Medford, then return again on Friday to make the week's final — and largest — supply to be sold at Saturday's market in Grants Pass.

Deichler says he buys produce from local farmers whenever he makes specialty pasta. Supporting local agriculture saves on costs and fossil fuels, he says.

"I knew a lot of the growers at the markets," says Deichler. "A light came on and I thought maybe I could make and sell pasta."

The notion followed Deichler's stint as head chef at Wild River Brewing and Pasta Company. Apart from the Ashland eatery, Wiley's Pasta Co., no other local business was making pasta for retail sale, he says.

Because he was living in the economically depressed community of Wolf Creek, Deichler says, he was able to qualify for a $10,000 small-business loan rather easily. He used the money to buy a used pasta machine from Portland.

"I've always liked cooking," says Deichler. "I thought it was really an art."

Cooking times for fresh pasta are shorter than for traditional dried pastas. Boil the pasta between one and four minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough and the diner's preferences, he says.

"The lasagna sheets can just go into the pan and cook in the oven," he says.

Semolina makes the best pasta, Deichler says. But he also makes a spelt version for those who eschew wheat.

"I've made noodles without eggs for vegans," he says, adding he's made spinach, basil, red pepper and lemon pepper versions too.

Talk shopping local or talk pasta recipes, just don't talk to Deichler about freezing his tender piles of dough.

"You can do it, but I don't want you to," he says, smiling. "The whole point is to eat it fresh. That's why it's called fresh pasta."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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