Dinner Made Easy with Prica Farina’s Fresh Pasta
Husband and wife team, David Strenio and Priscila Moritz, handmake and sell up to ten pasta varieties per day.
Boston’s Eataly is fabulous and all, but if you want to shop like a true Italian while in Rhode Island, then the smaller mom-and-pop markets, shops and farmstands are the way to go. One of Rhode Island’s quaintest handcrafted pasta shops, Prica Farina, is located in downtown Warren on the corner of Market and Main Streets, and it feels like food shopping on the streets of Florence.
Husband and wife team, David Strenio and Priscila Moritz, handmake and sell up to ten pasta varieties per day, while also stocking New England-made and imported Italian cheeses, Hope and Main food products, local sauces and spreads, bread from Seven Stars Bakery on weekends and daily fresh-made, filled-to-order cannoli.
A glass case filled with fresh pasta greets customers with all the colors of the rainbow, and if you’re lucky, you might see some of the shapes being made directly behind the counter. “The pasta maker is David,” says Moritz, who manages the shop that has several shiny gadgets on display. “All of those machines are his toys. He’s very fond of them,” she says with a laugh.
Prica Farina has a pasta extruder with traditional bronze dies for making pastas with long and short shapes and a ravioli assembly machine that presses filled pastas. On any given day, they might have linguini, bucatini, gnocchi and two ravioli made with imported Italian flour, as well as a whole wheat option made with local flour from Maine Grains, a vegetable pasta made with sweet Italian peppers, spinach or fresh basil, and squid ink pasta.
Pasta-maker Strenio had worked in well-known Boston restaurants since 1991, and he also was the head cheesemaker at the renowned Great Hill Dairy in Marion, Massachusetts, famous for its Great Hill Blue Cheese. “David has a broad interest in food from all over and always loved making pasta even as a little kid,” Moritz says. “That was a natural thing for him.”
Moritz also has two decades of experience in the restaurant industry.
The couple got the idea for opening a pasta shop when they lived in Brazil for a brief stint and fell in love with all of the gourmet food and pasta shops there. They got homesick for the United States and decided to move back to the south coast of Massachusetts at the end of 2015, and began to put a plan in place for launching a store of their own. On their search for a storefront, they say Warren found them.
“Someone else once said, Warren chose them, and it’s the same with us. When we started looking for a location, our minds were in Providence. Every time we went to Providence to look around, we would take the scenic route through Warren and Barrington,” Moritz says. “One day, we saw a sign, ‘For rent.’ When we saw it, that was it.”
The shop has been open for one year, and Warren’s food scene is booming with the Happy Snail Tea House located right next door and the Perfect Sweet French macaron and pastry shop down the street, plus well-loved restaurants like Eli’s Kitchen, Bywater, the Square Peg, Revival Kitchen and Bar, Metacom Kitchen, Federal Hill Pizza and Blount Clam Shack. “There are so many good places to eat, it’s not even funny,” Moritz says.
And Prica Farina is certainly helping to build Warren’s reputation as a food town. The shop provides cooking instructions on each box of pasta sold as well as suggestions for serving it, so that the home cook doesn’t have to think about it. It only takes a few minutes in boiling water to put a delicious dinner on the table. Grab a jar of sauce, a hunk of cheese, some fresh bread and cannoli, and you’re good to go.
“People love to ask for recommendations. I feel very responsible for their dinner,” Moritz says. “You are there on the table with them at night, and at the end of our day, we feel mission accomplished. Hopefully, everybody is at the table having a delicious plate of pasta, feeling happy and that it was worth it.”
2 Market St., Warren, 401-245-1680, pricafarina.com