With the holidays over and the kids back in school, we want you to reinvent “pasta night.” Our selection of ingredients will help you elevate your pasta game into the realm of the sublime. Pastas from Tuscany’s Caponi and Martelli, Napoli’s Faella, and Portland’s own Rallenti are coupled with sauces from Italianavera & Pianogrillo. Pair these with our extensive array of olive oils, meats and cheeses, and you have everything necessary to turn a boring Tuesday into an extraordinary one.
Not all noodles are created equal. What’s the main difference? All dried pasta is made with durum wheat and water. This is what distinguishes the imported and artisan pastas from their poorer supermarket cousins:
- The quality of the flour. Many Italian producers grow their own wheat, often reviving old ones; others carefully select Italian or imported wheat; still others buy up the stuff nobody else wanted.
- The material of the die through which the dough is extruded. This affects the surface of the pasta. Rougher is better, and that is obtained with bronze (not with stainless steel or, even worse, Teflon). The rough surface increases the total surface area of the pasta, which makes the pasta more absorbent. This means it has texture to hold the sauce.
- The drying process. Slow drying at low temperature brings out the flavor of the wheat. Only small producers can manage this. The huge producers can’t babysit pasta, so they quick-dry it.
A well-made Italian industrial pasta should need very little to no sauce to be delicious, and should never have so much sauce as to conceal the flavor of the pasta.