It's Wiley's World for pasta

A 10-table dining room, cramped kitchen and cottage pasta operation belie the big commitment to fresh, organic and local at Wiley's World Pasta Shoppe and Eatery.

The 18-year-old Ashland restaurant enjoys a loyal following among locals despite low-carbohydrate and gluten-free dieting trends. Used like a template, Wiley's menu allows diners to personalize meals to just about any dietary requirement or preference, says owner Gretchen Boylan.

The main draw is organic noodles and ravioli made fresh daily. Six shapes of pasta can be prepared 11 ways with the possibility of adding five proteins: chicken, meatballs, shrimp, tofu and smoked salmon. Wiley's ravioli come in six versions, including chicken smoked in small batches over wood chips out back, a labor-intensive process that Boylan reinstituted in response to popular demand after purchasing the restaurant in December 2009 from founders Terry and Julie Wiley.

Although not made in-house, certified-organic quinoa- and rice-flour pastas cater to the "much more important" demographic of gluten-free diners, says Boylan. Wiley's eliminates much of the food industry's hidden gluten by making all its sauces and dressings from scratch.

Established when "organic" was the byword of healthful eating, Wiley's still purchases the vast majority of its ingredients — flour, eggs, meat and sugar — from certified sources. Seafood is wild-caught and many mushrooms wild-harvested. Wiley's increasingly buys produce from small, local farmers who can't afford organic certification but still use sustainable practices, says Boylan.

But "clean" ingredients and the handmade quality of Wiley's food don't come at premium prices. Since taking over, Boylan raised prices by a mere 70 cents per serving, meaning a small portion of pasta with salad and bread can be had for less than $10.

Recommended: Ravioli stuffed with house-smoked chicken, spinach lasagna, spicy Thai peanut pasta, basil-walnut pesto; pasta primavera with seasonal vegetables.

Alternative diets: Certified-organic ingredients are the rule; numerous vegetarian and vegan items; gluten-free and eggless pasta options; kids menu.

Beverages: Local, other domestic and imported wines by the glass and bottle; local and other domestic, bottled beers; juices, sodas, teas and coffees.

Price range: Pasta entrees, $10.95 to $11.50; ravioli, $12.25; salads, $4.50 to $11.75; desserts, $1.95 to $4.95.

Extras: A la carte, smaller-size and super-size prices; uncooked pasta and sauces available for retail purchase; low-key location about two miles from Ashland's downtown, easy walk from Southern Oregon University.

Serving: Daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Info: 1606 Ashland St.; 541-488-0285; www.wileysworld.com.

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