Deano’s Pasta has journeyed long and far to make it into the pantries of South Shore residents.
First, Ralph Matarazzo had to immigrate from Italy, work in a produce market and ultimately open Deano’s Pasta in Medford in the 1940s. Then, three more generations of Matarazzos each had to commit to keep up the family business, move it to Somerville, invent new products and slowly work those pastas and sauces south of Boston through farmers markets, restaurants and artisan shops.
But, once word got around about the artisan pastas, it was smooth sailing.
“They’re amazing, the lobster and pumpkin raviolis are my favorite,” Kerri Curreri, co-owner of Board 143, a North Scituate business stocked with locally-made products, said. “It’s a pleasure to work with them and they’re selling well.”
Dean Matarazzo, the fourth generation in his family to do so, runs the modern-day Deano’s Pasta with his wife Hala. The pair have helped to usher in a new age at the business, and Deano’s now makes and sells over 100 varieties of pasta to hundreds of local restaurants and small retail shops, most of which are also family owned.
Dough for Deano’s pastas are made with just three ingredients: egg, water and semolina, a type of wheat that the Somerville factory has made to its exact specifications. The dough is mixed, rolled out and shaped by machines, then hand checked for consistency and packed by one of the business’ three dozen employees.
“It sounds simple but there is a lot to it. The mixture, the percentages, even the humidity is important to preserving quality and making sure the pasta comes out right every time,” Dean Matarazzo said.
Though the pasta is made by machine, the machines are all shipped from Italy, made to Deano’s exact specifications and have been altered to make unique pastas like radiatore, a radiator shape; crest di gallo, a rainbow shape; fioretti, a flower; and torcere, pasta twists.
“The quality is really different,” Matarazzo said of Deano’s pastas when compared to the bulk product found on grocery store shelves. “It’s really noticeable to most people. There’s a different texture and taste to a fresh pasta — it hasn’t been sitting around in a box for weeks or months.”
In addition to it’s dozens of slow-dried pasta varieties, Deano’s sells a dozen sauces ranging from a a classic pesto and marinara to Limoncello and Brandy cream sauces. Also popular are dozens of seasonal and unique raviolis like a roasted butternut squash and amaretto, fig and marscapone cheese and wild mushroom.
“We basically have the same ricotta cheese my grandfather had,” Matarazzo said. “We’re able to make everything to the specs he did to really preserve the quality and integrity of our products.”
On the South Shore, Deano’s pasta can be found at Gennanro’s Eatery and Fratelli’s Pastry in Quincy, as well as Previte’s in Weymouth, Village Market and Board 143 in Scituate and Hornstra Farm in Norwell. Sauces are $4 each, stuffed shells are $12 and a pound of ravioli ranges from $5 to $8.
“Our bread and butter is just regular people who want to have something special every once in a while,” Matarazzo said. “It’s not just the chefs we have to impress — it’s the customer who splurged on us for that special Saturday night meal.”
Hala Matarazzo says Deano’s most popular items are its fresh egg fusilli pasta, red chile carsarecce and chocolate garganelli.
“We are one of the only companies that sells both directly to small stores and businesses, as well as to restaurants,” she said. “You can pop into our shop or a specialty store and make a restaurant-quality meal with what you find.”
Photos in this post were taken by the wonderfully talented Greg Derr. They were originally published in The Patriot Ledger.