Arizona on a Plate: Chef Jeremy Pacheco Cooks Spaghetti Carbonara
As photographer Debby Wolvos has traveled the state, she’s had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the people behind our local food community—be they farmers, ranchers, bakers, artisan food producers or chefs. This photo series explores the relationships, inspirations and ingredients behind her favorite dishes.
This first entry in the series features Jeremy Pacheco, executive chef at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, in Paradise Valley. His dish is Spaghetti Carbonara, an Italian classic but with a local connection through wheat grown on Pacheco’s family farm and milled by Hayden Flour Mills in Queen Creek.
Chef Pacheco’s Arizona roots go back for 10 generations (four of which are represented in the photo). Growing up on the family farm in Marana, Arizona, with his brother, Jeremy experienced the best of locally sourced food. He continues to bring the family farm to the table at Lon’s.
Pacheco says, “The farm was a big part of us growing up. It was our first job, pulling weeds out of the fields in the summer. Having dirt clod fights. I think of when my grandpa would sneak-teach us how to drive his truck in an emergency.
“I hope to try and keep the farm as part of the boys’ lives as they grow up as much as possible. They should know about what their great-grandfather started and what their grandfather continues to operate successfully with the help of his brother.”
DEBBY WOLVOS: Tell us about your relationship with Hayden Flour Mills, and Jeff Zimmerman.
JEREMY PACHECO: I found Hayden Flour Mills six years ago when Jeff Zimmerman was just getting started at the Scottsdale Farmers’ Market. I was immediately drawn to what they were doing. Growing up seeing wheat growing on the farm and then seeing them producing a freshly milled product must have drawn me to it. We later set up a plan for Hayden to mill my family’s durum wheat, specifically for use at Lon’s.
Seeing Hayden Mills continue to grow, and watching Jeff and his daughter Emma’s passion for what they do, is incredible. We spent the afternoon at the mill with Jeff recently, and it is so cool to see how excited he is about it.
His belief in keeping Arizona’s great agricultural products in the state and in the country is very smart. Arizona durum wheat is sought after by Italian pasta companies. How much sense does it make to grow the wheat in Arizona, then ship it to Italy to be turned into pasta—and then they sell it back to us? Hayden Mills is trying to harness these AZ grains and keep them here in the state and the country. Also, because of the unbleached, fresh way they mill their product, it can be very beneficial here.
DW: I tasted your Carbonara (OK, I ate the whole thing ). The flavor and incredible texture of the fresh pasta is really special. What is your inspiration for this dish?
JP: The dish starts with durum wheat from my family’s farm. We were able to spend the time at the mill processing it from start to finish: cleaning the grain, milling the grain and then turning it into pasta.
Jeff Zimmerman, founder of Hayden Flour Mills, sent me home with a trunk full of fresh pasta. With the smell of the fresh pasta filling the car—all I could think about was getting home and making Carbonara.
We were also at that time working on ways to use all our pig parts from AZ Fine Swine at Lon’s, and guanciale was one of the items we came up with. So, I used the guanciale (made in-house at Lon’s from Mangalitsa pigs from Arizona Fine Swine), farm-fresh eggs from my parents’ house (at the restaurant we use local Hickman eggs), freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, cracked black pepper and chopped parsley.
What I like most about Carbonara is the simplicity of the dish… four ingredients, and four great ingredients done right.
Debby Wolvos has had a lifelong love affair with the world of food, chefs and photography. Her passion is photographing food culture, and traveling globally to explore and document authentic cuisines.
We're partnering with Arizona Foodie at Eatable Events (azfoodieblog.com) for pop-ups based on this series. (The first Jeremy Pacheco/Spagetti Carbonara dinner was on November 20.) For info on future events follow ediblephoenix on Facebook or sign up for our e-newsletter.