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Bringing Back Old-World Traditions In Westport, One Raviolo At A Time

Enivaldo Jiminez talks about his passion for pasta at Grana Pastifico in Westport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Thomas Tenaglia packages fresh pasta at Grana Pastificio in Westport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Enivaldo Jiminez prepares fresh pasta at Grana Pastificio in Westport Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

WESTPORT, Conn. — When Angelina Tenaglia was a teenager, she worked at her father’s Spadoni’s Macaroni Shop in Stamford, learning the deceptively simple and deeply satisfying art of pasta-making from a master.

And Westporters will be happy to know she passed her secrets on to her grandsons, who recently opened Grana Pastificio, a new fresh pasta shop conveniently located steps from the train station on Railroad Place.

“We learned at a very young age,” said Enivaldo Jimenez, who owns the shop with his brother, Thomas Tenaglia. “It was never a big ordeal. If we were having pasta, we made it. We never had boxed pasta.”

Grana Pastificio is a natural addition to the brothers’ commercial pasta business, which supplies spaghetti, ravioli and more to several “mom and pop,” chef-owned restaurants in the area. But now home cooks can order ahead, step off the train and have made-to-order pasta on the table in a jiffy.

“We’re bringing back old world traditions,” said Jimenez, who originally planned a career as a physician’s assistant. “It’s a labor of love. It really is.”

Grana Pastificio’s pasta is simply made, involving little more than semolina flour and water. While the brothers have some pasta-making machines straight from Italy, both said they made most of the varieties completely by hand.

“I like working with my hands,” said Tenaglia, who was trained in HVAC, but, like his brother, has always worked in restaurants. “I like seeing something I made and then giving it to someone who is going to enjoy it.”

While the shop sells a small amount of Bolognese, marinara and pesto sauces, the spotlight is on the pasta. Customers can choose from six handcut styles, including lasagna sheets, tagliatelle and fettucini, or opt for stuffed items, such as tortellini, mezzaluna and agnolotti.

Semolina is the staple flour, but the shop also works with whole wheat, squid ink, red pepper and teff flour.

Grana Pastificio is building strong relationships with Winfield Street Italian Deli and Espresso Bar, which shares its space, as well as wine and cheese merchants in the area, who can advise customers on the best pairings for each pasta.

Any pasta not sold in a week is donated to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

The brothers also sell their wares at the Rowayton Farmers Market each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and they hope to branch out to other markets. They also hope to begin pasta-making classes in the coming months.

Tenaglia and Jiminez, who live together in Fairfield, said they enjoy working together to preserve something they’ve loved all their lives.

“We have no problems together,” said Tenaglia. “It’s good.”

Grana Pastifico is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the workweek and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. To order, call 203-557-3855.

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