Inside the Factory (Series 8, Episode 4)

Inside The Factory Stuffed Pasta

Gregg Wallace embarks on a culinary adventure at Dell Ugo’s Hertfordshire facility, where an astonishing 500 million stuffed pasta parcels are produced annually.

He delves into the creation of their popular crab and crayfish raviolo, beginning at the intake bay with a shipment of frozen crayfish tails. Factory manager Cesra Da Rocha reveals the weekly arrival of half a tonne of these crustaceans, essential for over 200,000 raviolo.

In the kitchen area, Gregg meets owner Charlie Ugo, who discusses the vital blend of white and brown crab meat used in the recipe. Gregg lends a hand in mixing parsley, coriander, mayonnaise, salt, crayfish, crab, and blue whiting – a fish akin to cod and haddock. Lobster stick, lemon juice, and precise mixing times follow, with breadcrumbs added for the final touch.

The pasta, vital for the raviolo, is made from high-protein durum wheat flour. This protein-rich flour forms strong gluten strands, creating a robust dough able to withstand the manufacturing process. The dough, incorporating egg, undergoes a transformation through a machine that kneads and stretches it, followed by a roller that thins it to the perfect thickness.

The assembly begins with a machine placing 15 grams of filling between two sheets of pasta, shaping and cutting 280 raviolo per minute. A steam tunnel pasteurises the parcels, extending shelf life and stabilising their shape. A chilling process then lowers their temperature, readying them for packaging.

Ten raviolos are packed for dispatch across the UK. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey travels to Cromer, Norfolk, exploring traditional crab fishing methods used in Gregg’s pasta. She also conducts an experiment to understand the influence of music on taste perception.

Historian Ruth Goodman investigates the role of Italian immigrants in Bedford in shaping British culture and dives into the history of gluten-free food.

Inside the Factory airs on BBC Two on Tuesday, 16 January 2024 at 9:00PM.

The episode is the fourth from the show’s eighth series.