In 1970, Angela Conte came to America with her husband Mario and their three children. Arriving in New York, they moved to the Watertown suburb of Boston, MA. Coming from the Abruzzi region of Italy, Angela brought with her the time-honored traditions of generations past.
At a very early age, Angela had begun to spend many hours in the kitchen watching her mother and grandmother as they used their hands to lovingly transform freshly-ground semolina flour into mounds of fresh pasta dough. Soon, she began to help. As the dough was rolled out into sheets and cut by hand, Angela learned the secrets of creating fine pasta that would one day become synonymous with the name Conte.
In 1975, Angela and her family moved to Vineland, NJ. Just the aroma of her homemade tomato sauce was enough to call her family in to dinner and there was never a shortage of friends at the Conte table when Angela’s pasta was on the menu. It was here that Conte’s Pasta was born. While she began making pasta for neighboring families, the rest of her family was working hard to help her realize a dream. Just three years later, in 1978, Conte’s Restaurant opened its doors.
The restaurant was an immediate success featuring Angela’s fresh made pasta and it wasn’t long before customers began asking to buy the pasta for use at home. After several years at the restaurant, the family began to see such a demand for their pasta that they felt it was time to make a decision. Should they stay in the restaurant business or should they devote themselves to the manufacture and distribution of Conte’s Pasta?
With hard work and determination Angela’s son, Mike, made the decision to open and operate Conte’s Pasta Company. Through word of mouth business grew steadily. It was no longer just the “neighbors” picking up Conte’s Pasta; it was now many fine restaurants in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area who were buying from Conte’s. As their popularity grew, Conte’s full line of pasta and sauces began to appear on supermarket shelves.
Never being one to stand still, Mike Conte continued to develop new products. Experimenting with different flavors and various combinations of fillings, shapes and sizes, Mike understood how important it was to maintain the “original” pasta recipe that had been steeped in generations of tradition.
Several years ago, Mike began working on a line of pasta products that he felt would be the “top of the line” at Conte’s. Spending many hours at the plant, Mike sampled and tasted until he was satisfied. However, the demand for these gourmet handmade items soon began to outgrow the ability to produce enough of them by hand. Working with a machinist, Mike modified equipment that would reproduce the “handmade” ravioli and introduced Conte’s “Mezza Luna” line.
These large, half-moon ravioli are a treat that will delight the palate. Each ravioli is packed full with a combination of fresh whole milk ricotta (to ensure a rich, creamy texture), and whole chunks of meat, seafood or vegetables. The Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Ravioli are filled with pieces of plump chicken breasts that are grilled and hand-cut into small chunks. Lobster Ravioli contains large chunks of only the freshest lobster. Sweet Italian Sausage is cooked and all fat is skimmed away before being used in the Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Ravioli, while only the highest quality vegetables and mushrooms are used in the Vegetable and the Mushroom Ravioli.
The Mezza Luna line eventually caught the eye of Jim O’Connor host of The Food Network’s hit series, “The Secret Life Of…”. Jim and his crew spent the day at Conte’s taping the segment on “The Secret Life of Pasta”, in which they featured the actual production of our Mezza Luna Cheese Ravioli. This segment has aired numerous times and has generated much national interest.
The year 2003 saw the addition of Conte’s own line of Garlic Bread. With freshly chopped garlic and herbs, loaves of freshly baked bread are topped with a special blend of Conte’s own Garlic Spread. A few minutes from freezer to oven and fresh, hot garlic bread is on the table.
It is the heart of Conte’s that everyone be able to enjoy fine pasta. In late 2004, Conte’s developed a line of specialty pasta just for children, with “child-appeal” in both flavor and appearance while remaining true to the tradition of Conte’s full-flavored pasta. Filled with our Classic Cheese recipe, these little pillows of fun-shaped pasta come in the shape of butterflies, trains, tugboats, hearts and stars.
Well into 2006, Mike decided to add yet another new item to his already extensive list of products. Again, after much sampling and tasting, Conte’s introduced their Gourmet Cheese Pizza. Sitting atop a “traditional” pizza shell, Angela Conte’s Original Tomato Sauce and freshly-shredded Mozzarella and Romano Cheese are sprinkled with spices and herbs after which they are flash-frozen to preserve their freshness and flavor. Take one from your freezer and bake until the sauce and cheese are bubbling atop a golden brown crust. Sink your teeth into a slice of this pizza and you will fill your mouth with a delightful blend of crunchy and chewy textures releasing an explosion of flavors.
Fast forward to the year 2007, where once again you find Conte’s working to bring their product into every home in America, including the homes of those who are unable to tolerate wheat, barley, rye and oats. Our Gluten Free Line of products has been manufactured on a limited basis for several years but we are now running full production lines of Gluten Free Pasta and Pierogies. Our Gluten Free Mezza Luna Cheese Ravioli and our Gluten Free Mezza Luna Spinach and Cheese Ravioli have received rave reviews from our friends who have waited so long for a GOOD gluten free pasta. Along with our Gluten Free Pierogies, Stuffed Shells and Gnocchi, Conte’s Gluten Free Line continues to grow.
True to his heritage, Mike understands the importance of being directly involved in the daily production of all Conte’s fine products. The pasta that is freshly cut for you today is the exact same pasta made from Angela’s original recipe that is still used in the production of Conte’s extensive line of fine pasta products. Today, Angela is still in the kitchen at Conte’s Pasta making her fresh Tomato Sauce. She and Mike personally guarantee the quality and integrity of every item manufactured at Conte’s Pasta.