Seven Hills Pasta Co. makes dried pasta even an Italian grandmother would approve of

Giulio Caperchi, 32, was born and raised in Rome, a city built upon seven hills. When he and his wife, Carol, 33, opened a pasta business here in a Melrose commercial kitchen, it seemed fitting to name their company Seven Hills Pasta Co. While most artisan pasta makers produce only fresh pasta, Caperchi crafts dried pasta made the old-fashioned way. He uses only two ingredients, high quality semolina and water, and pasta machines imported from Italy. Small batches of dough are extruded through custom-made bronze dies, instead of Teflon used by large commercial brands, and then slowly air-dried. Bronze creates a rugged texture on the pasta’s surface so sauce clings to it. “Dried pasta is easier to cook al dente,” Caperchi says. Although he studied at a culinary school in Rome and worked in trattorias, it was Caperchi’s grandmother who taught him pasta making as a youngster. He admits, “I learned most from my Nonna. She was my inspiration.” It was not his original intent to run a food business but to work in food policy. He went to London for a master’s degree, where he met Carol, a Shrewsbury native, studying marketing. The couple moved to Rome first before coming to Massachusetts, and started the business two years ago. The company produces four shapes ($6 to $7 for 1 pound) — casarecce (twists), gnocchetti sardi (shell-shaped with ridges), rigatoni (tubes), and fusilli (corkscrews). They also offer hands-on pasta-making classes ($50) in their spacious kitchen. In time, the couple plans to add a market to sell their products, which will eventually include pastas made with organic flour and sauces prepared with produce grown on their small farm in Rutland. Available at Sienna Farms South End, 106 Waltham St., Boston, 617-422-0030; Wildflower Pantry, 575 Washington St., Brighton, 617-276-6299; Pemberton Farms Marketplace, 2225 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617- 491-2244; Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, 781-862-3900; North Main Provisions, 122 Main St., Worcester, 774-420-7434, or go to www.sevenhills