How do you choose a good-quality pasta?
Well, it’s not easy. First of all I will talk about the durum-grain (semola di grano duro) pasta. It’s the dried one (not the fresh one), and it’s done without eggs, so just water and wheat flour (and then dried up).
There are a few things you should check when buying it. Price may give you a first hint: the more expensive the better (well, most of the times). The reason is very easy: raw materials and production have higher costs if you want a good quality product (like everything in this world). Another quick reference if you look at the same kind of pasta from two different manufacturer) is the cooking time: higher times may refer to a better quality. But these two parameter should not be considered as a golden rule.
There are other, more important, things you can check. First of all you should find out if it’s bronze extruded (“trafilata al bronzo“). Most of the industrial pasta is extruded in steel or teflon machines. These will make pasta too smooth and shiny. Bronze on the other hand will make it porous and opaque. This will help a lot the sauce to stick to the pasta! So, check for this marking on the package: trafilata al bronzo.
Another important thing you should check is the “drying time”. The best quality will have a “long and slow drying time”. And it should be written on the package.
One more hint would come from the tag that shows the nutrition fact, although not every country requires the same information to be displayed. You should check the protein content in percentage. In Italy for example the minimum is 10,5%, but a good quality pasta needs between 12% and 13,5%. Above 13,5% would be an even better quality.
Last thing should be the origin of the wheat used. But again, not every country requires this kind of information. In Italy for example they will start to indicate the origin this year, in 2018. (The best wheat comes from Gragnano )