Let’s talk Pasta Quality and Variety…
Why Expensive Pasta Tastes Better Than The Cheap Stuff-
It’s all about texture, and the type of extruders used to make cheap and expensive pasta produce different results. It rarely gets the attention it deserves, but food’s texture is just as important as its flavor.
Texture is the reason expensive pasta tastes better than cheap pasta.
Have you ever wondered why the cheapest box of spaghetti is around $1 and other brands sell for $5 or $8? They have exactly the same ingredients: semolina and water. So what gives?
If you closely examine low-cost pastas, you’ll notice that they are almost shiny and incredibly smooth ― that’s the work of the Teflon die. To save even more time and produce large quantities of pasta, mass manufacturers then quickly dry the pasta, sometimes for only a few hours, before boxing it and shipping it.
The result is a textural disaster. The smooth pasta never fully marries to the sauce, and the quick dry time requires a quicker cook time, which in turn minimizes the window of perfectly cooked, toothsome al dente noodles to just a few seconds long. Further, even if you are lucky to nail the “al dente,” the pasta will slowly wilt in the sauce. And don’t even think about eating it the next day. You’ll find pasta that’s swollen to twice the size it was the day before, melting like baby food when bitten.
If you’ve always struggled with achieving al dente pasta, try buying a more premium brand. They’re extruded though brass and bronze dies, which create a rough skin on the pasta. This creates a perfect texture for the sauce to grab and stick to as it coats the pasta.
Next time you stand in front of the pasta aisle at the grocery store- branch out and try something new! Why not? Life is short. Eat the better tasting pasta.
What Pasta Goes best with What Sauce?
This is a question I get asked a lot. In Italy we think about what pasta shape goes with a particular sauce before cooking the meal (most of the time!). This is also why my pasta pantry is full of all varieties ‘just in case’ I need that special variety of pasta. It’s important to pair the correct pasta with a particular type of sauce so that the sauce can bind to the pasta or allow the pasta to absorb the sauce dependent on its style.
And then there’s the super important fact that pairing the right pasta with the right sauce means you’ll get more per mouthful. “When you have a pasta that doesn’t necessarily pair well with a specific sauce, parts of the sauce might slide off, and you’ll end up eating a noodle without the maximum amount of flavor,” says Tal Ronnen, founder and chef of Crossroads and author of New York Times bestseller, The Conscious Cook.
Now, will your pasta dishes totally go to waste if you don’t do this and just grab whatever you have on hand- NO! However, keep this in mind if you want to try something fun and new. It’s how real Italians think about pasta. It’s more than just a starch it is the start of a delicious, thoughtful, and tasteful meal.
How To Correctly Pair Pasta Shapes With Sauces
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding on which pasta goes with which sauce the best.
Links to some of my favorite pastas that you can purchase on Amazon.
Barilla Farfalle – best deal per box unless you find on super sale at grocery store
De Cecco Pasta Fusilli – my favorite brand for fusilli
CampO’ro Orecchiette – best bang for your buck
Rustichella dAbruzzo Bucatini – made in Italy !