Bear River Pasta Co: Homemade right down to the noodle

“BENVENUTO,” READS A SIGN WHEN YOU walk into the Bear River Pasta Co. in Grass Valley. It’s fitting to welcome customers in Italian: The new store features fresh pasta, sauces, gourmet meals to “eat in” or to go, gelato and imported Italian delights.

Opened in March, the Bear River Pasta Co. is helping to create a “Little Italy” on Bank Street in the historic town. Its next-door neighbors include Villa Venezia Italian restaurant and the Italian Cultural Center in the Gold Miner’s Inn/Holiday Inn Express.

“Everything’s homemade, right down to the noodle,” says Theresa McGuire, a long-time pasta maker who opened the store with her husband, Carl Brenner.

McGuire co-founded the well-loved Santa Cruz Pasta Factory, a retailer and wholesaler. Her pasta was served at famous restaurants, ranging from the Shadowbrook in Capitola to the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite.

Bear River’s pasta, rolled out on Italian-made machines, is made with 100 percent semolina flour. Herb pastas are made with selected dried herbs. No preservatives or artificial flavors are used.

The selection is wide, including egg, whole wheat, spinach, lemon dill, black pepper and squid ink. The sizes run from angel hair to sheets of lasagna, thin enough to make your favorite recipe lighter and more flavorful.

Bear River Pasta’s homemade ravioli are stuffed with cheeses, chicken, meat, Porcini mushroom, crab or smoked salmon, among other items.

“Our sauces are made from fresh ingredients,” says Brenner. “We use Stanislaus tomatoes, butter, cream, fresh herbs and garlic.”

The selection includes Alfredo sauce, meat, pesto, tomato basil, sun-dried tomato cream and others. The garden marinara sauce is delicious for vegetarians—or to introduce children to vegetables.

Bear River Pasta also sells homemade meals to take out or to eat there. The “gourmet meals in minutes” include cheese ravioli, spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara sauce and chicken parmesan.

The gelato includes Italian favorites, such as spumoni and pistachio, as well as chocolate and cookies and cream. An outdoor patio is ideal for lunchtime.

A fountain and light musical entertainment also is planned for summertime.

The store’s selection of imported items is varied, from Bella di Ceriognola olives to Pomi strained tomatoes to Italian easter cake by Fiasconaro in brightly colored wrapping. “We’re bringing a taste of Italy here,” says McGuire.

Bear River Pasta Co.
109 Bank St. Grass Valley

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