BLACKSBURG, Va. – When Chris Cirenza was going to Virginia Tech, he frequently visited the farmer’s market in Blacksburg. Now, he’s a big part of its success with his shop - Not Your Mama’a Pasta.
He credits the taste to those who grow everything, saying, “Your dish is going to be as good as the ingredients. The farmers around here are amazing.”
He also credits the community.
“I’ve been to a few college towns before, but I’ve never seen one where the student and town community is this close.”
It’s that harmony that drives business for him and for other vendors in the market each week. Like so many, COVID-19 almost stopped him dead in his tracks. Instead, he adapted.
“I make dry pasta, and I built a slow-drying chamber for that. I had to do that during COVID because I couldn’t cook street food.”
Dedication to his craft starts at home with his own farmed tomatoes, potatoes and basil. Once at the market, he and his team put on a show by hand-crafting bigoli and gnocchi.
A number of dishes are then made with a perfect combination of quickness and care before finishing off with an Italian favorite - the cannoli.
Currently, Cirenza is in Italy. It’s not just for fun, though.
He tells 10 News, “The best street food around is in Naples and Sicily, so I’m just trying to get some good ideas and some cooking classes. Then, I’ll figure out what to do next.”
At the same time, he keeps what he originally went to the market for when he attended Tech - the burgers!