When Aurora Echo had a craving for spinach pasta that couldn’t be found in the grocery stores of Salt Lake City, she decided to make her own.
Thirteen years later, she has transformed her hobby into a brand-new one-woman pasta-making business on South Whidbey called Wildly Beloved Foods.
Echo recently began selling her varieties of pasta on the Whidbey Island Grown Food Hub, so customers all over the island have a chance to purchase her products. And starting next week, she plans to amp up production with the delivery of more flour than ever before.
To make her pasta, Echo uses Italian semolina flour, fresh baby spinach and whole eggs, all of which are organic. The dough is mixed and extruded using a commercial pasta machine made in Italy. After about six to eight hours of drying – which is the old Italian way – the pasta is ready to be packaged in compostable materials.
Cooking time for her pasta is greatly reduced because of the time spent air-drying, meaning it usually only takes about four to five minutes to boil rather than the standard 10 to 11.
Her pasta comes in all shapes, from fettuccine to rigatoni to campanelle. Conchiglie pasta is a unique seashell shape that Echo swears sounds just like the real things from the beach clinking together.
“It’s basically adult Play-Doh,” she said of the different extrusions.
Her spinach pasta is a favorite among kids, even those that usually shy away from eating their greens. Both of Echo’s young daughters love her pasta, and their teacher has even begun cooking it as a snack for their class every Friday.
For around every 17 pounds of flour she uses in her dough, she adds 5 pounds of spinach, which is blended in a giant food processor. The result is a vibrant green pasta free of any artificial dyes.
Echo officially started Wildly Beloved Foods at the end of last year and has spent the past three weeks making her pasta in the commercial kitchen on the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds in Langley. She plans to sell her pasta at some retail locations in addition to the food hub, such as Grayhorse Mercantile in downtown Langley.
Before this, Echo had never worked in a restaurant or even stepped foot in a commercial kitchen. She started out making pasta with simpler tools all those years ago in her own home. After moving to Whidbey in 2020, she decided to take things further and start her own business, which included purchasing the commercial pasta machine.
“If I start a pasta business and nothing else comes of it other than a steady supply for my children, then that will be worth it because it does take a lot of time to make pasta,” she said.
In the future, she foresees hiring some employees and possibly branching out to other kinds of foods, such as a salad dressing that her grandmother used to make.