On the Menu: It’s all in the construction at Pasta Design in Point Loma

Fresh pastas of many colors from Pasta Design
(Provided by Pasta Design)

Laura Rodriguez, an architect by trade, has used her skills and passion as an artisan to build a thriving Italian restaurant called Pasta Design, a name reflecting her profession.

Rodriguez’s blueprint for the business was fashioned after her parents’ fresh pasta shop on La Croce Avenue in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the large population of Italians would flock to indulge in authentic fare.

In 2011, Rodriguez converted her love of crafting homemade pastas into San Diego farmers market offerings. Then in 2016 she went full brick-and-mortar in Liberty Public Market at Liberty Station in Point Loma with her husband and business partner, Alejandro.

The transition from designing buildings to designing pastas and sauces was natural for Rodriguez, who incorporates her architect mindset and skills into her vibrantly colorful culinary creations with original shapes and flavors. Squid ink produces classic jet-black morsels, roasted red bell peppers create orange-hued offerings, spinach and basil give jade-green shades, and beets make ruby-red tones.

All pastas are vegan, made with pure semolina wheat instead of flour, except the gluten-friendly pastas made from a mix of white and brown rice flours (not strictly gluten-free since there might be some wheat crossover).

Ravioli with marinara sauce and meatballs from Pasta Design
(Provided by Pasta Design)

Now for the lineup of shapes. Traditional long noodles include angel hair, spaghetti, linguini, fettuccine, flat eggless pappardelle and bucatini (chubby spaghetti).

On the shorty list you’ll find fusilli, “spring flowers” painted in a variety of shades, rigatoni, elbow, torchietti (curly bells) and ziti.

There’s more. Rodriguez’s favorite menu item is the handcrafted ravioli, especially the year-round staple flavors of four cheese and spinach and ricotta.

More intrepid palates might prefer seasonal blends such as bacon and mozzarella, prosciutto and brie, porcini mushroom and ricotta, goat cheese and lemon, butternut squash and mascarpone (an autumn delight), asparagus and burrata, creamy lobster and roasted garlic with shrimp.

The display case at Pasta Design is loaded with the establishment's offerings.
(Provided by Pasta Design)

Complementing the pastas is an array of sauces also made from scratch. Let’s start with the classic vegan marinara and robust beef Bolognese, followed by vegan pesto that blends basil, olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and lemon (minus ground nuts and Parmesan cheese), silky Alfredo, the house special pink sauce (“my version of vodka sauce without the vodka,” said Rodriguez, who blends Alfredo with marinara), and the creamy pesto (a mix of Alfredo and pesto).

There’s also olive oil and garlic, along with a butter sauce that kids tend to enjoy.

Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken from Pasta Design
(Provided by Pasta Design)

And if you crave comfort foods, you can live a little with hearty oven-baked dishes such as bubbling beef lasagna and asiago mac and cheese.

Customers also can design their own pasta bowls with more choices than the number of Fiats on Italian roads, including pastas, sauces and toppings. Meat lovers can load up on homemade meatballs, grilled chicken, Italian pork sausage, bacon and prosciutto, while vegans can indulge in sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and mushrooms.

Salad heads can pick from four different choices to pair with the bowls (Caesar, caprese, chicken, and burrata and spinach).

You can take your food piping hot in the indoor seating area or the outdoor patio, or take it home with pasta sold by the pound and sauces in Mason jars.

Pasta Design's homemade sauces come in Mason jars.
(Provided by Pasta Design)

For dessert, there’s traditional tiramisu made from scratch, plus brownie bars and cookies (chocolate chip and cinnamon brown sugar butter).

On any given day, customers can watch the culinary show through the open kitchen as the Rodriguezes roll up their sleeves and design pastas and sauces of all manner “the old-school way,” without pre-made or pre-packaged items. When possible, they source from local purveyors to harvest the freshest products and support the community, Laura said.

Since Liberty Station is a former naval training depot that naturally attracts service members, Pasta Design offers a military discount. Civilian customers also are plentiful, including students from Point Loma Nazarene University, families, seasonal tourists and loyal customers who followed Laura from her farmers market days.

Laura and Alejandro are scouting a second location somewhere in San Diego.

“When you do something you believe in, blending your heart and soul into the mix, it’s an amazing feeling,” Laura said.

Now that’s amore!

Pasta Design

Where: Liberty Public Market, Liberty Station, 2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Information: (619) 906-0807,


Fresh pasta with pesto and heirloom cherry tomatoes


• 1 pound of fresh pasta (your choice)

• 1 jar of pesto

• 3 gloves of garlic, sliced

• 6 ounces heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered

• Olive oil

• Parmesan cheese

• Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


• Allow 4-6 quarts of water for boiling per pound of pasta. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, between 1 and 4 minutes, depending on the shape. Bring the water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil.

• Shake the pasta loose. Add pasta to boiling water, stir and begin timing. When the pasta starts boiling again, turn down heat to a slow boil. Once pasta is cooked, drain well.

• While the pasta is cooking, heat a saucepan on medium, drizzle with olive oil and add garlic, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Sautee for a few minutes until heated through.

• Add pasta and pesto sauce and toss well. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

— Courtesy of Laura Rodriguez, Pasta Design


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