Freshly made pasta, cheese, gelato, cannoli on the Prica Farina menu

Freshly made pasta, cheese, gelato, cannoli on the Prica Farina menu

WARREN — I’ve been hearing good things about Prica Farina Pasta Co. since they opened in 2018.

Now that I’ve spent some time in the shop, and tasted some of their homemade products, I can say owners Priscilla Moritz and David Strenio exceeded even my high expectations. 

When I arrived anonymously on a recent weekday, Prica Farina was busy with shoppers. I stepped back to peruse the scene, one in which the owners knew all their shoppers. Not only that, Mortiz knew what they came in to buy and their favorites. In one case, they had put aside some pizza dough knowing their customer wouldn’t be in the next day when it would be sold. 

All the customers greeted Moritz by name and she did the same with a lovely warm smile.

When a first-timer came in, and Mortiz was with another customer, Strenio stepped away from kneading pizza dough, to patiently describe different products. Strenio also apologized for being out of the strawberry gelato that brought the man in. He had seen a tempting Instagram post two days earlier. 

“Call ahead next time and we’ll put it aside for you,” Strenio promised.

It was only later that day, when I made dinner with the fresh pasta and cheese I purchased, that I realized their products were as stunning as their hospitality.

The ravioli featured beautifully herbed ricotta in a delicate dough that was almost translucent. The homemade mozzarella was a tender texture and full of flavor. The cannoli may have been the best I can remember because of their compact size which offered the perfect balance of rich filling to crunchy, tender shell. 

I resisted buying the basil and ricotta gnocchi and lasagna sheets. Right now, I can’t tell you why. 

I did pick up some Sicilian olive oil and a risotto mix as Prica Farina is grocery shop, too, with plenty of cheeses, crackers and other deli treats to buy. They have an espresso machine ready to serve up hot cappuccinos. 

How lucky we are that Moritz and Strenio used to drive home to Fairhaven, Massachusetts, through Warren. It was during one of these commutes, they decided the town looked like the place they could open their own business after years of working in the food and hospitality industries.

They wanted a community and they found it, said Moritz. In return, they set up a European neighborhood market in the middle of Warren.

Strenio said his inspiration was Polcari’s Coffee in the North End, a market packed with goods. “Where you could barely move around,” he said. 

He is the chef and pasta maker. His 12 years at Great Hill Dairy in Marion, Massachusetts, also make him the cheese maker.

Moritz years working at the old Ritz Carlton in Boston is obvious in her customer service. She also worked on Cape Cod and is happy now in her role as shop manager.

Perhaps Prica Farina is also welcoming because the couple, married for 21 years, likes to have fun. And for them food and hospitality are a joy.

“Once you enter here it’s all about the food and how much attention you get,” said Moritz.

“We try to be a little oasis,” Strenio said. He also worked at the Ritz, too.

He also admitted he likes toys, which to him are his pasta extruder, ice cream maker and ravioli machine. 

The pasta extruder has bronze dies in traditional and modern shapes. Every day he makes different pasta, many with an organic durum wheat flour. In addition to nests of bucatini and linguini, customers will find the shapes including cavatappi, campanelle, creste di gallo, radiatore, cavatappi, tagliatelle and malfade.

There’s always a ravioli or filled pasta, often with a seasonal filling. There are gnocchi — the dumpling pasta — offered in a daily variety. 

The couple weren’t sure they should press out their ravioli in a machine. But after their first Christmas doing it by hand, they knew there was no other way to meet demand.

In addition to working in Massachusetts, the couple moved to Brazil for a few years. That is where Moritz was born and raised and she still has family there. They made cheese in Brazil. 

Once they moved back and decided they wanted to open their own shop, they started having planning meetings at the Coffee Depot in Warren. When Moritz saw the “for rent” sign go up at 2 Market St., she called the number on the sign immediately. 

“I loved the windows,” she said pointing to her wide open view onto Main and Market streets. 

There is a cushioned window seat below one where children’s books are piled for young customers to enjoy while the adults are shopping. Other customers might sit an enjoy an espresso.

Prica Farina is a name that combines Priscilla’s nickname of Prica and the Italian word for flour. 

Talking to the couple in the shop is not easy with the steady stream of customers coming in and out. 

Strenio tells another customer how long to cook the basil and ricotta gnocchi. “They are mostly cheese,” he says.

As she contemplates ordering some fresh nests of bucatini or linguini, he suggests against freezing, telling her the weight of each one.  

Like the other customers that day, she left happy.

“It’s our job to make sure they have success,” he said.

Details: Prica Farina Fresh Pasta Co., 2 Market St., Warren, (401) 245-1680, Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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