Tossing two handfuls of penne rigate into boiling water tonight, I noticed this text on the box (obviously translated by an Italian native speaker): De Cecco is the first pasta certified for the distinctive quality of many parameters such as:
- High protein quality (gluten index above 70) to ensure the perfect firmness of pasta during cooking
- Use of high particle size (40% with diameter above 400 microns) to preserve the wholeness of the gluten
- Kneaded with cold water (under 15 degrees Celsius), that assures a sweeter taste and a better firmness during cooking.
Very interesting explanation supporting my view that De Cecco is the best of the easily found manufactured pastas. The De Cecco website has lots of interesting facts about the company as well, like that it all started with some wheat farmers and a flour mill in Fara San Martino, Abbruzzo. Whether the year was 1886 or 1887 remains to be known … the English and Italian versions of the website and the packaging itself proclaim different years. Questi italiani!
Like Garofalo pasta, De Cecco uses a bronze die in its extrusion process, which produces a rougher surface than the more typical teflon die. They say that this slightly rougher surface means that sauces stick better, but I really wonder how noticeable this is to mere mortals. I mean, how much of the end product is due to the die rather than the quality of the wheat, the particle size and the drying?
These questions led me to think more about the industrial pasta production process, which you can read about here. (Can one of my longtime friends remind me how I used to spend my evenings? You know, pre-Google? I’m barely making it through my New Yorkers lately.)
Anyway, who really knows the answers to these pasta questions? What do you think? (Feel free to add a comment – no more phone conversations about my blog!) Maybe you wonder what led to this post in the first place? Now that I’m all tired out, I’ll have to write about what I actually made with my handfuls of penne tomorrow. A presto!