Italian Dried Pasta

AG Ferrari Fusilli Italian pasta

Recently, my doctor said I should eat more whole wheat pasta. I told her, “Doc, only with certain sauces!”  

Some sauces call for a fresh pasta and some for a dried pasta. Most dried pasta is a durum wheat or semolina pasta. The best is from Italy. It is extruded through a bronze die and the surface of the pasta has a rough feel (la lingue di gatto, like a cat’s tongue) so that more sauce is absorbed. (One of my favorites is Strozzapreti.)

I just heard about one producer in Campania that threw out the bronze dies and bought gold dies that make an even rougher surface. They won’t say how much that cost.

Slow drying is the other important step in making quality dried pasta. Many large volume Italian producers and most American pasta producers use a telflon extrusion die and a fast drying method, so the pasta doesn’t absorb the sauce as well. You see in my demonstrations that I always finish cooking dried pasta in the sauce pan. This is where the pasta absorbs the sauce and where the sauce clings to the pasta’s rough exterior.

Organic bronze die durum wheat from Campania may cost $7. But it’s worth the money because the pasta is the star of the dish. In fact, in Italy they refer to pasta sauces as condimenti, mere condiments. You should always taste the nutty flavor of the durum wheat pasta through the flavor of the sauce and grated cheese. A 500 gram box will feed 4, at minimum. You do the math – it’s still a very economical dish and it’s delicious.

I recommend shopping for pasta at A.G. Ferrari stores if you’re in the Bay Area. You can also order from anywhere online.

5 Replies to “Italian Dried Pasta”

  1. I have a Bosch mixer with the pasta attachments and they use the bronze die extrusions with their attachments. I also found a good source of organic Durum Wheat and it is so easy to make all kinds of pasta with the attachments – 11 different dies. What you are saying about the Bronze die extrusions and he sauce picking up is to true. Now I need to find one of those racks to dry the pasta and I will be all set.

    1. I’ll have to check out the Bosch. Kitchen Aid’s pasta attachment has teflon dies. When I was growing up my Mom covered a bed with a large tablecloth and laid out fresh pasta to dry there. That was the technique used most in my neighborhood. Just make sure the fresh pasta are well floured before laying them out on the cloth.

  2. Hey Gianni, love your website, really fell in love. I don’t know if you know that brand of pasta but they are from the Abruzzo. It’s called Rustichella d’Abruzzo. They make pretty much every types of dry pasta. They are all made from organic durum wheat semolina. It’s a bit less expensive but still about 5-6 $ CAD. The rustic packaging is also great lol.

    1. Grazie. Thanks for the Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta recommendation. This is another example of quality traditionally made Italian dried pasta that should be used, organic durum wheat pasta, shaped through bronze dies, and slowly dried. I think this one is imported by a company here in the Bay Area. I’m going to try to find more about Rustichella’s other products, especially their extra virgin olive oil.

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