From her Nonna Kitchen in Italy to Project Pasta in Rhode Island

“I thought about the chemistry that preserved my Nonna’s longevity,” she said of her grandmother, who lived to be 103. , recreate tradition and make pasta accessible to everyone.

Right after graduating from the International Culinary Academy in New York in 2010, she founded Pasta Project.

Chef Jamie Freda kneads the dough mixed with beetroot juice. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Q: What is the Pasta Project?

Freda: Project Pasta is the Top 9 Fresh Plant-Based Pasta Without Allergens. With its phytonutrient base, 30-second cook time, and uncompromising texture, Project Pasta is where innovation meets botanicals.

Q: What is the difference between making fresh pasta at home and Project Pasta?

Freda: Every form of pasta making is an art, but the difference between homemade and Project Pasta is the unique formulation and process we use to recreate the texture of traditional pasta without gluten, grains or animal products – only Plant. Meaning: Years of formulation and R&D.

Freda rolls out the tomato-infused batter into a sheet. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Q: A pound of gluten-free pasta at a grocery store costs between $5 and $10. Yours is around $15 per pound. Why do you think people should choose your product instead?

Freda: When you have an innovative product, you have to go through many, many phases of product development before you start selling to the general public. Since Project Pasta is handcrafted in small batches, using sustainable, nutrient-rich ingredients and 100% compostable packaging, the cost per product will naturally be higher because you’re paying for a premium, artisan product.

Sell ​​at Farmers Markets [in Rhode Island] last summer was an indication that we have proven our concept and now we need to scale our formulation. What we can assure all of our customers is that once we do this, our costs will drop significantly. Until then, we’re asking customers to choose to pay the extra few dollars to support innovative small businesses, like Project Pasta, because we are the future of sustainable, clean food.

Freda chops sections of a tomato-infused batter.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Freda feeds tomato-infused dough into a pasta maker attachment.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Q: Can you explain the process of making your pasta?

Freda: We start with simple, comprehensive ingredients to formulate our dough: a proprietary blend of vegetables, a source of vegetable-based starches, and natural fibers. We use the basics of traditional pasta making. Once the dough is kneaded, we let the dough rest, then it is rolled out and cut like a traditional pasta dough.

Q: Do you do everything at home or in a commercial kitchen?

Freda: We do a lot of research and development at home as well as in our dedicated allergen workspace. When we are in production, we use the gluten-free facility of hope and principal. (Hope & Main is a nonprofit culinary incubator. It has helped launch more than 300 businesses since 2014.)

Q: Where can Rhode Islanders purchase Project Pasta products? Do you ship your products?

Freda: Due to limited production capacity and high demand, we only accept orders through our website for local delivery in Rhode Island right now.

Food scientist Caitlin Jamison reviews tomato-infused pasta dough with chef Jamie Freda. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Q: Do you sell anything other than pasta?

Freda: Currently no. However, we have a lot of new ideas in the works.

Q: How is the Pasta project funded?

Freda: Aside from a successful crowdfunding in 2018, Project Pasta was funded 100% out of pocket, revenue from farmers markets and orders from our website. We are also awaiting a response from Rhode Island Commerce regarding an innovation voucher we submitted in November.

Q: Do you have any long term goals for this year? Five-year goals?

Freda: My short-term goal for this year is to optimize the product line for extended shelf life and improved production scale. By the end of this year, we would like to increase the production capacity by 100%. Five years from now, I’d like to see Project Pasta reach more demographics, be included in subscription boxes, and also as an option for healthy, allergen-free, vegan meals in cafeterias at academic institutions around the world.

Once production and distribution facilities are secure, we would like to pave the way to locally sourced ingredients and identify agricultural producers who are open to exploring options for collaboration. Sustainability is the foundation of scalability, and also a way to further preserve our traditions. We want to increase access to traditional Italian pasta by navigating the varying health needs of the population.

The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean State Innovators column features a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are building new businesses and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking research and reshaping the state’s economy. Send tips and suggestions to journalist Alexa Gagosz at [email protected].

Chef Jamie Freda is the owner of Project Pasta in Rhode Island.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Alexa Gagosz can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.