The Art of Choosing The Best Pasta Demystified

How to choose the best pasta brand has haunted pasta-lovers for generations. A stroll down the pasta aisle of your local grocery store serves up a bevy of pasta brands in bright-colored packaging all at a variety of different price points, all making unique claims as to the reasons they (and not the others) are truly the best pasta brand to accentuate your recipe. So many choices can leave the pasta shopper at a loss as to which pasta brand to choose and, even what criteria to incorporate, to make a solid pasta selection. So, how do you make your pasta selection? Is it price, eye-catching packaging, claims of the best ingredients or some other detail entirely? If you are one of the many who get overwhelmed and seek a better understanding of which pasta rules, you’ve stopped at the right place. Browse this quick primer, and you’ll quickly be up to speed on what makes for the best pasta brands.

The 1,2,3,4’s of Choosing The Best Pasta Brand

1. It should taste good. Well, obviously, you want your pasta brand choice to taste good. The problem is, unless it’s your lucky day at the grocery store, pasta samples are not readily available in advance of purchase. There are some criteria and rules of thumb you can follow to make sure you’re getting the pasta with the best taste. As a general rule, look for these things in your pasta.

  • Pasta makeup  – The rough texture versus a smooth finish on your pasta is indicative of a heartier flavor. Hollow pastas are also good choices for trapping the flavor of the sauce inside for a more robust dish.
  • Cooking process – Be sure to pay attention to the cooking process. An undercooked or, even worse, overcooked pasta is going to taste terrible – even if you choose the best pasta brand. Some pastas cook very quickly like angel hair, for example. Others will require a longer cooking time for al dente like rigatoni or penne.
  • Sauce pairings – Considering your sauce will help you choose the best pasta. If you have a heavy sauce, be sure that your pasta can support it, like a hearty tagliatelle or classic spaghetti.

2. It should be authentically Italian. It is pasta, after all. Identifying authentic Italian pasta amongst shelf after shelf of pastas all claiming to be the very best pasta ever made can be challenging. Here are the things to look for to ensure you’re cooking with authentic Italian pasta. Search the package labeling, and you’ll find the product’s place of origin. If you find a pasta that comes from Italy, you’re on the right track.

3. It should accommodate your cooking goals. You have cooking goals, and at the end of the day, your favorite pasta brand should support them with variety and versatility. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed Italian cooking aficionado or a mom trying to through together a quick weeknight meal that the kids will actually eat, you need your pasta brand to offer versatility and variety. Make sure it does just that by looking for these factors.

  • Rigatoni pasta, penne pasta or larger pasta tubes like Paccheri pasta
    or Pennoni are great for thick sauces and even for stuffing with ingredients like cheese mixtures.

  • Wide pastas like pappardelle or fettuccine are ideal for pairing with creamy sauces.

  • Long, circular pasta choices like spaghetti, Spaghetti Toscani Pici, and Angel Hair/ Capellini Fideos pair with olive oil-based and thinner tomato-based sauces.

  • Pasta Springs, Cavatelli, Garganelli and other pasta shapes are for sauces with chunky vegetables.Pairing perfectly with shaped pasta for a hearty meal or side dish. These pastas are also the perfect choice for cold pasta salads.

4. It should be made with only wholesome ingredients. Food is energy. Food is medicine. Food is the baseline for our overall health and wellness in many cases. For these reasons and more, it’s no secret that consumers are more focused on, not just reading ingredient labels, but understanding exactly what those ingredients mean before they consider putting them into our own bodies and the bodies of our families and friends. Wholesome ingredients are a key determinant in finding the best pasta brand for health matters and, of course, taste. (See number one to refresh your memory about taste, if needed.) 

  • Base ingredients of the best pasta brands include flour, water, salt and eggs.
  • Additional ingredients might include potato (gnocchi), spinach and whole wheat.

Pasta dishes range from the quintessential homestyle, comfort food to the perfect weeknight dinner on-the-go to fine cuisine depending on the recipe and preference. Choosing the best pasta brand among so many choices can be a daunting task, but the key to creating the perfect pasta recipe with any goal in mind. Flora Foods, your source for old world style foods originating from Italy, offers a complete line of authentic Italian food that includes a myriad of organic  and traditional pasta choices that are sure to support your cooking goals. Your search for the best pasta brand is over once you try the wholesome flavor of Flora’s pasta – imported from Italy.

Browse the complete line of Flora Fine Foods pastas.

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