The dizzying array of pasta and sauce combinations lend to the truly infamous nature of pasta in Italian, and now global, cuisine. There is a lot of pasta to enjoy. Both good, and bad. The longer through life we go, the more blends we see and, unfortunately, the greater the atrocities exhibited on these simple, mouth-watering dishes.
The dance between pasta and sauce is meant to create an experience where sauce hugs pasta. It envelopes your palette with textured goodness – Every. Single. Bite. But why do some preparations leave slippery, bald pasta, that tastes plain? The answer lies in both the preparation and the type of pasta you choose – of which we will be talking about the latter in this article.
You may never have considered investing in a more expensive pasta brand, but you’d be surprised to learn to advantages of doing do, and will probably feel more comfortable taking the plunge on your next purchase of our Stigliano, Gentile or La Pasta del Maestro brands of pasta.
Here’s why the pricier stuff is totally worth it.
The first, and arguably most important feature, is a low-temperature, slow-drying process. Most large dried pasta brands will dry their pasta at higher temperature, zapping the moisture away. This gives them the ability to make more pasta, more quickly, which means they can produce and sell more. We don’t want to get too nerdy here, but this quick-drying process traps undeveloped starch proteins inside the dried pasta. What that really means is that the texture of quick-dried pasta is inferior to that of slow-dried.
Slow-dried pasta is more pleasant to eat at a perfect al dente—toothy, chewy, and delicious. The low-temperature drying allows the structure of the pasta to stay relaxed, which leaves small, breathable holes in the noodle. Holes are good. We love pasta with holes because it means that whatever sauce we toss the pasta in will get absorbed into the noodle. It’s a more flavorful experience for everyone. It takes a longer amount of time to slow-dry pasta, which is one half of the reason it’s more expensive.
Next, If the pasta looks kind of rough, chalky, and a little dirty, that’s a great sign. Sauce loves to cling to that bumpy exterior texture. And if the outside looks a little worn, it’s probably a sign that the pasta was shaped using bronze dies. (A die is just another word for pasta mold.)
Most large pasta makers use Teflon dies because they’re cheap and durable. It’s inconclusive whether or not bronze dies definitely make for better pasta, but the commitment to quality is a good sign. The softer bronze is bumpier than the slick Teflon. This helps to create that rough texture on the outside of the pasta, which helps grab whatever sauce you decide to finish it in, whether it’s some eggy carbonara or a butter-roasted tomato situation. We will never complain about sauce that actually sticks to our pasta. Never.
So yes, expensive pasta is worth it. After all, it’s only a fraction of your total meal’s price tag and the care that goes into making it actually makes for a more delicious product, and absolutely justifies the price tag. They say money can’t buy happiness. But did those people ever buy nice pasta? Probably not.