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On Pasta Pop-Ups (And the Kind of Dessert an Angel Would Eat)

On Pasta Pop-Ups (And the Kind of Dessert an Angel Would Eat)

Pasta di Hugo’s pop-up pasta dinners are the traditional Italian trattoria food we need.


The night before Pasta di Hugo’s latest pop-up, I attended a barbecue where I unexpectedly ran into Kyle Hoffner, the man behind the pasta. We quickly struck up conversation, which included him letting me know that he had just made two kilos of fresh ricotta in preparation for his dinner the following evening.

Pasta di Hugo is a pop-up event that takes place at Back in Five an occasional plant shop and cafe. The menu is small, hearkening back to traditional Italian trattorias as everything is made fresh and by hand. This month, the menu included orecchiette, a semolina-based pasta, bathed in a ricotta cremosa sauce with hints of toasted walnut and browned butter. It was an exquisite balance of salty with a little bit of sweet, which was so delicious I was tempted to lick my bowl clean. The menu starts with a salad made with nectarines and tangelo, beet puree and local greens from Square Root Organic Farm, located in the Saanich Peninsula. Dessert featured two types of cannoli: one filled with a strawberry and ricotta creme filling (which tasted like something angels hanging out on clouds would snack on) and one filled with ricotta and Nutella (which reminded me of a divine Ferrero Rocher). Of course I had to try both, and it was difficult to say which was better.

Every month Pasta di Hugo features a different menu, but the pasta is always the main attraction. Want to experience this blend of local and Italian flavours for yourself? Follow Pasta di Hugo on Instagram to catch updates on the next pop-up dinner. Also keep an eye open for pasta-making workshops so you can recreate some of the magic for yourself. 

Strawberry and ricotta cannoli. Photo: Pasta di Hugo.
Orecchiette hails from Puglia in southern Italy. Made only by hand, they’re sometimes referred to as “Puglian gnocchi,” and translated in English, their name means “small ears” or “little ears” for their ear-like form. Photo: Pasta di Hugo.
Ricotta is a fresh cheese that can be made from cow’s, buffalo’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. Photo: Pasta di Hugo.

Follow Pasta Di Hugo and Back in Five on Instagram.

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