Kelly and Mario are both longtime provider-industry gurus who designed an affinity for cooking though performing in the entrance of the house for a long time — in simple fact, which is how they achieved. Mario, who’s initially from Sardinia, Italy, did a stint at an Italian cafe in New York Metropolis in which Kelly was also on team.
Soon after the two moved to Colorado five years back, they begun cooking up the notion of beginning a company in which they could share dishes like the lasagna Bolognese recipe that Mario experienced realized from an ex-girlfriend’s mother who is from northern Italy, the region acknowledged for that dish. They developed branding and solidified their recipes while both equally had been however working full-time at other careers.
“It was form of a little aspect thing for good friends and household,” Kelly points out. “But then with the pandemic, we were being each unemployed, and we just had time to pour absolutely into it.” The Crobus formally launched Casa Crobu in July 2020.
“I keep telling Mario, if we experienced performed this any other way, we would have been fighting the complete time and second-guessing,” she adds with a snicker. “But now we just were being pressured into it, and we ended up ready to do it.”
The unique thought was encouraged by Mario’s practical experience escalating up in Italy. “His mom, his aunts, the grandmas — when they make some thing like a lasagna, you never make just a single,” Kelly states. From earning clean noodles to simmering the Bolognese for hrs, cooking a proper lasagna is an all-working day affair in Italy. Mario’s loved ones would give the extras to mates and household, which is a custom the Crobus want to carry on.
That lasagna (obtainable in two sizes: small with 2-4 servings for $25 and substantial with 6-8 servings for $50) has turn into the company’s greatest seller. Prospects can get on the net for delivery on Mondays and Thursdays, and the items arrive in a reusable cooler bag. Merchandise can be cooked appropriate absent or saved frozen for foreseeable future meals.
I fell in like with the course of action of making lasagna Bolognese, with refreshing noodles and béchamel (not ricotta, which is an American just take on the conventional recipe), yrs in the past, but now only do it two or 3 times a 12 months — generally on holidays, when I have the time to dedicate. But a modest Casa Crobu lasagna bakes in just an hour and twenty minutes and preferences like selfmade (or even greater). It is excellent to have on hand for evenings when you need to have an effortless supper remedy or a reward (especially for new parents), or want to impress a date and household cooking just isn’t your point.
In addition to lasagna (which is offered in gluten-free and veggie variations as very well), Casa Crobu’s choices contain other Italian classics like spinach and ricotta ravioli and eggplant parmigiana, as very well as seasonal things this kind of as butternut squash ravioli. But the most distinctive offerings are specialties from Mario’s dwelling of Sardinia.
Culurgiones are a filled pasta, but “are pretty a little bit richer than a basic ravioli,” Kelly clarifies. A cross concerning a pierogi, a dumpling and ravioli, they are loaded with a potato purée with pecorino cheese and a touch of mint, and shut with sensitive pleats. “They originate from a very small, little region in Sardinia, and we worked with a lady when we were being there just one year to understand how to do the closing system, so all those are super particular. You really are unable to come across them any where else.”
A additional effectively-recognised, classic Sardinian dish is also readily available: malloreddus alla campidanese. “The noodle is a cross amongst a cavatelli and a gnocchi,” Kelly describes, “and which is usually ready with a sausage and tomato ragu. … We incorporate a minor pecorino cheese to complete it off. That is like my most loved pasta.”
Kelly estimates that they sell close to 200 lasagnas a week, all created in a business kitchen. “We go by way of product quite immediately,” she notes. “So even nevertheless it really is frozen, it was possibly made the working day in advance of.” She and Mario have been carrying out the bulk of the get the job done by themselves, although Kelly just lately stepped back a little bit right after having a newborn. Mario’s brother, who moved to Denver from Italy in September, is now lending a hand in the kitchen area, and they have a few folks who aid with deliveries.
But all the do the job is worth it to be capable to have their individual business and share recipes they appreciate — a aspiration that many persons in the provider market have pursued considering the fact that the pandemic hit. “I imagine it is a tale for a large amount much more men and women than individuals comprehend,” Kelly states. “[Service-industry professionals] had been constantly the smartest, hardest-operating persons. You think we are just heading to be sitting down on our butts seeing Netflix?”
Whilst they are no extended in dining establishments on a each day basis, Kelly suggests that she and Mario have stayed connected to others in the food stuff entire world, specially via farmers’ marketplaces, exactly where they offered their products around the summer months in purchase to get to new clients. “Every person I satisfied was a chef who’d started a small business,” she adds. “We are continue to in our circle we are just redefining it.”