Noodle Lab is the fruit of Nico and Ally Gonzales’ penchant for making fresh pasta.
This couple’s love language includes cooking meals for each other.
Nico, aware of Ally’s favorite food, decided to cook her favorite dish from scratch, and that meant making the pasta himself.
Fresh pasta quickly became their household specialty, they started serving it to family and friends who felt privileged to have a taste of it. Like many businesses, theirs came to be after much prodding from those who’ve had a taste of their food.
With lots of time on his hands during the pandemic, Nico made lots of pasta. Their home-based business grew to a point where Nico, who works for digital sales at Philip Morris, could no longer work. This was when Ally stepped in, to help with production, sales and marketing.
Before the lure of making pasta full time became too difficult to resist, Ally was busy with corporate marketing for Sweet Escape in Indonesia and Nike Philippines. The revenue their noodles generated far exceeded their expectations, so much so that Ally decided to make it her full-time job.
Over time, the couple perfected their recipe, later experimenting on more intricate shapes. Innovation, creativity and their ability to concoct new flavors using seasonal, local ingredients are their strengths. After mastering the basic pastas, raviolis became their masterpiece.
Imagine a ravioli with a runny yolk! Their original recipe has now morphed into many variations, including their best seller, the Carbonara Egg Yolk Raviolo—a giant four-inch ravioli.
In Ally’s words, the idea was to make carbonara but all inside the ravioli. So it’s filled with pecorino Romano, guanciale, cracked black pepper, ricotta and a runny egg yolk at the center.
Noodle Lab offers a wide range of pasta. The basics like the long hand cut egg pastas like spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, pappardelle, lasagna sheets (that come in classic egg, spinach, squid ink) are available daily from their curbside commissary that doubles as a store in Poblacion.
Available for preorder are bronze extruded fresh semolina and water pasta: bucatini, casarecce, mafaldine, rigatoni, campanelle, fusilli. They also have potato and ricotta gnocchi.
There is a wide range of filled pasta to choose from: ravioli, tortelloni, cappelletti, caramelle, mezzelune, agnolotti, scarpinocc and the best selling Carbonara Egg Yolk Raviolo.
Their fillings are plenty, and change by the season. The more basics ones are spinach ricotta, lobster, quattro formaggi, black truffle porcini, duck confit, Amatriciana, crab and the popular local fig and goat cheese.
Business at Noodle Lab is booming. Apart from their online and curbside stores, they now also work with chefs from hotels and restaurants to create a fresh pasta line, based on their needs.
Pasta kits are available for special occasions. This Valentine’s Day, order your Truffled Ricotta Egg Yolk Raviolo with Truffle and Apricot Compound Butter.
What’s next for the Gonzaleses? Three years down the road and with a commissary and a full team of culinary professionals, the couple are expanding their our operations to include fresh pasta subscription boxes, a takeaway counter and dinner pop ups in Poblacion.
Ally, in partnership with SMEG Philippines, now conducts fresh pasta-making workshops.
She shared her special recipe with us.
Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Lobster and Spicy Vodka
500g Noodle Lab Fresh Squid Ink Spaghetti, Linguine or Tagliatelle
4 medium lobsters
1 bottle Noodle Lab Spicy Vodka Sauce
½ block butter
Herbs (dill or parsley)
Boil water in a deep pot, and lightly salt the water (the pasta itself already contains salt).
When the water is boiling, put the pasta inside and boil for one minute only, making sure to stir it occasionally to avoid clumping.
Transfer your pasta straight into the pan where your sauce is cooking using a pair of tongs. If you will be draining your pasta through a colander, make sure you add sauce to it immediately and do not allow it to sit dry for too long.
If the pasta is coming from the freezer, do not defrost it when you’re ready to use. Just make sure your water is boiling and lightly salted, and then put the pasta that’s still frozen into the pot. Let it boil for three minutes instead of one, stir to avoid clumping, and test doneness before removing.
Rinse the lobsters and remove the heads. Boil the lobster tails in salted water for 4 minutes. Once done, place the tails in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Remove the shell of the tails once cool.
Melt half a block of butter over medium heat in a separate saucepan. Once melted, add herbs of choice (dill or parsley).
Place the lobster tails into the pan with butter and herb mixture. Let the tails poach in the butter, while basting it occasionally using a spoon. Do this butter poaching process for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Once done, set aside.
While waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, pour the spicy tomato vodka sauce into a pan to heat it up.
Once the pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer the pasta into the pan with the heated sauce. It’s ok for some pasta water to end up in the pan. There is no need to strain your pasta.
Toss together in the pan. If it’s too dry, add pasta water. Plate with the butter poached lobster tails on top. Serve immediately and enjoy! (noodlelab.ph and @noodlelab.ph on Instagram)
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