• Antonio

The Price of Pasta

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and thought this pasta meal tastes better than what mama makes at home. Of course you have, just don't tell mama. Otherwise why would you eat out if all meals tasted better at home.

Why do pasta meals at restaurants taste better? The reason is they purchase better quality pasta than what you generally find on the local store shelf. Quality pasta is higher priced. The process required to make quality pasta requires finesse.

We are talking taste not service

Have you ever compared lesser priced pasta with more expensive pasta...

  • Is cheap pasta the same as expensive pasta?

  • Can you tell the difference?

  • Have you ever tried more expensive pasta?

Maybe at a restaurant you have enjoyed a pasta meal and thought it was better than what you have experienced at home.

Pasta Quality Does Matter

Pasta quality does depend on how the wheat is grown, how it is harvested, and how it is processed. The more expensive brands use better flour and more precise milling to make a uniform product. If your taste buds are still active you will notice the difference between brands like Piazza pasta and a store brand. There is also a difference in the texture.

If you are a connoisseur of pasta it becomes even more noticeable with certain shapes like Maccheroni Lisci or Mezzi Paccheri. Good maccheroni cooks evenly where the cheaper product can be overdone at the edges and under-cooked in the middle.

The cheaper pasta is produced in high quantities so they push out as much pasta as possible. Supply and demand. This process makes for a very smooth texture, which does not lend itself to retaining the sauce.

PIAZZA Pasta Brand

The Piazza pasta holds the sauce as it should, promoting an enjoyable experience.

Yes you can buy cheap $2 - $3 pasta. You can also pay a little more and experience delight in your meal.

Given the pasta is typically the highlight of a dish, and the sauce is there to compliment the pasta, it makes edible sense.

Drying Pasta to Perfection

When we talk drying we are talking about humidity, and temperature. And this process is a very expensive undertaking process.

At Piazza a slow drying process yields a better quality product, and that is why their pasta is superior to many other pastas available.

Piazza Pasta Retains Shape

The Piazza pasta retains its shape much better than other brands, and has a better bite than a lot of pastas out there. Whether or not this difference makes it better is up to you, but I use Piazza for all my pasta needs long or twirl.

Protein Quality

The protein varies a lot. The imported Italian brands have 11% or more protein while the leading local New Zealand brands have 5 or 6% only. Oddly some supermarket's own brand has the same contents and protein as the Italian. They must bulk import.

Homemade vs Piazza

You could make your own homemade fresh pasta but it won’t replace factory made pasta. The time and effort and detail are for the true traditional pasta maker and those businesses that pursue excellence.

You may have noticed that the cheap pasta tends to become mushy quickly.

The better the pasta the better the al dente, even when stored overnight. The reason is it has the better texture and is very difficult to overcook.

Pasta Taste Eperience

Flavor differences are very minimal between pasta brands. The major difference is the Piazza brand doesn't add durum flour (a finer and cheaper flour) to their pasta like some other brands. The durum flour makes the pasta shed starch and absorb more water leaving the pasta with a mushy texture.

Our taste experience is built on our instinctive need for food hygiene. But to believe that local/artisan/organic/branded food is superior, is misleading when it technically is actually inferior due to outdated production methods.

Who makes the most pasta

You may have guessed. The largest producers of dried pasta is Italy, followed by the United States, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.

The healthiest types of pasta

  • Whole grain pasta made from whole wheat.

  • Veggie pasta made from a grain, like semolina or durum flour plus pureed vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and zucchini.

  • Legume-based pasta often made with chickpeas or red lentils.

  • Gluten-free pasta usually made with rice flour or cornflour.

Dry Pasta or Fresh Pasta

Dry pasta isn't better or worse than fresh, but they do have a different taste and texture.

Fresh pasta can work well with certain sauces, but the main advantage is that it lets you make your own stuffed pasta like ravioli and tortellini.

Running water over your cooked pasta will rinse away the starchy build up that forms around your pasta noodles as they release starch into the boiling water while cooking.

Raw pasta should:

  • be a pretty yellow color, like semolina flour.

  • have the fragrance of fine wheat.

  • be of uniform size and shape with no broken bits.

  • if it’s long pasta, you should be able to break it in half cleanly, without little piecdes falling off here and there.

  • if it claims to be “bronze-cut,” it should have a slightly rough surface, which is best for sauce adherence.

Cooked pasta should:

  • taste great, even plain.

  • have a lovely aroma even as you are straining it.

  • leave the water it cooked in clear and colorless

  • adhere well to sauce. If the sauce slides off, it’s a sign that the pasta was not properly dried. The pasta maker likely rushed the drying by using too high a temperature, which causes the pasta’s starch to form a sort of glaze on the pasta, making it shiny and impenetrable for sauces.

  • remain firm through to the last bite. if left in a plate without sauce it should not collapse and loose its shape.

The Price of Pasta

Pricier pasta is made with better ingredients using more expensive production methods that makes the texture of the pasta rougher.

The rough pasta texture is better for holding onto sauces.

Rough pasta clings onto sauces much better, improving the taste of your dish.

More expensive pasta is made with higher quality flour and the process makes the texture rough.

The Piazza dough process is formed slowly in a cold vacuum-sealed tank and kept at a low temperature so as not to be stressed. Passed in bronze dies, it is then dried in static cells (max 40 °). From the fusion of our processing method and the wholesomeness of wheat, a complete, balanced and nutrient product is born.

Mass-produced pasta, on the other hand, is extruded through cheaper metals such as aluminium, which results in a smooth surface that won't cling onto sauces as well.

What Pasta is Best

The best pasta is the pasta that tastes good. Taste is a very individual thing. What tastes good for me may not be the same for you.

If you enjoy mama's cooking then continue to enjoy. If you are looking for that extra special taste experience try a more higher priced pasta.

Mama's cooking will always taste extra special with a more quality pasta. The only way to find out is to try it.

One day you may try Piazza pasta and think... '...why did I wait so long'

Enjoy your pasta the way you like. Bon appetite.

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