Three brands worth mentioning are De Cecco, Ronzoni and Barilla.
De Cecco is the king of pasta which defines all else as a noodle. It is top of the line and widely preferred by chefs because it retains its ‘al dente’ firmness after removing from the fire.
Ronzoni is an excellent pasta from back east USA. It also retains its hardness and it is noticeably thicker.
Barilla being good quality pasta, is a little shy in retaining its ‘al dente’ properties and might be appealing to those who like their pasta a bit softer than al dente. Take Barilla off the fire al dente and it will keep on softening a little more, yet taste better than most other brands.
‘Pasta al dente’ in this case means semi hard.
Italians refer to pasta as ‘pastasciutta’, dry pasta, almost invariably served at lunch in numerous ways as a first course.
For the Italian dinner, pasta may also be the first course but served in soups such as tortellini in chicken broth, minestrone (big…heavier content soup), minestrina (little…light in content soup).
Pastina (tiny pasta) such as Stelline and Acini di Pepe are wonderful for delicate soups.
Pastina in chicken broth, is Dottor Mamma’s No. 1 prescription.
- At the restaurant order al dente. In most cases this will ensure your pasta is cooked fresh.
- Never cook pasta by timing it but by taste.
- Buon appetito!