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Sep 10, 2007 08:28 PM

Which chef uses which dry pasta brand? and which do you like?

i feel like when I watch some cooking shows, the chefs rave about one pasta brand or another but then I can never remember which one said what

Giada likes DeCecco?
Lydia and Barilla?
Does anyone else know who likes what?

Also, let me know which ones you like best. I know this has probably been a previously-posted topic but want to get some fresh opinions too.


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  1. I eat pasta a few times a week -- I love it. But do the different brands really make that much of a difference? I usually just buy whatever is on sale that week, be it Mueller's, Ronzoni, or a store brand (Publix/Albertson's/Market Pantry from Target). I've paid more for the "fancier"-looking pasta before and haven't ever noticed a different taste or quality.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

      I used to eat whichever pasta brand was on sale as well - but I think it was the first time I had Garafalo pasta (which was very affordable, since I got it at Costco) that I changed my mind. It took about twice as long to cook, and had more density and chewiness/ toothiness? than any other pasta I had had before. Now I make sure I am stocked up whenever I go to Costco - I don't think I can go back to the random grocery store pastas. It's a simple thing that has made my cooking better.

    2. I normally trust Lydia on all matters Italian, but De Cecco is my go-to pasta brand. Barilla is fine, I find, but De Cecco seems better at holding onto sauce.

      1. De Cecco and Del Verde are actual Abruzzesi dried pasta producers, and their US counterparts are true to the quality of the original Italian product. Barilla, on the other hand, is an entirely different (and lower-quality) product here in the States. I am personally offended by this total lack of respect for US dried pasta consumers, but that's another story for anyone who is nearly as fanatical as I am about these kinds of things. Rustichella d'Abruzzo is good for certain cuts (I like their orecchiette), and not quite right for others. Their Gnocchi and Perle di Patate (mini gnocchi) are out of this world, if you can find them (at about $8 per lb.). You'll never find Ronzoni or Rienzi in my pantry, though there was a time when that was all that was available (my grandmother continued to use them, out of habit, until the '80s, when her daughters revolted). I am currently enjoying "thick spaghetti" and "pennette rigate" from Rummo, a Neapolitan brand that is newly-available here in the NY area. Another promising brand produced in that region is Gerardo di Nola, whose Bucatini I tried recently and really liked. I also made a dish using a Pugliese brand not too long ago that was very good, but I don't recall which. My go-to classics are DeCecco Rigatoni and Spaghetti, but I will also take Del Verde for either of these, and also for pastine (small pastas, used in soups, etc.). Voiello brand pasta is excellent all around, if you can find it. It's availability seems to come and go here in NY. I heard that Barilla bought it recently, which to me can only be a bad omen, if it is any indication of how their quality here in States might change. My #1 brand for nostalgia purposes is Gianni di Napoli, a pioneer import brand of high-quality pasta from Italy that my mother used for much of my childhood. It is still good, and a bargain due to its relative obscurity, though not easy to find.
        I could go on and on, but I don't want to scare anyone ;)

        13 Replies
        1. re: vvvindaloo

          I once read an article -- I think it was in COOK'S -- that tested various types of pasta, both domestic and imported. The upshot was that the place where the pasta is purchased plays just as large a role in pasta quality as brand. Artiginale pasta bought from a source with a small turnover degrades and is worse than cheap domestic brands brought from a source with rapid turnover.

          Does anyone else remember this article? Perhaps someone could chime in here and name names.

          1. re: Indy 67

            I remember it, the winner of the tasting was Ronzoni. I'm pretty sure that Ronzoni sells under the American Beauty brand west of the Rockies.

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              Thanks! Ronzoni, yes! I remember being surprised by the outcome.

              1. re: Indy 67

                I recall a contest, but I don't recall who did it and Barilla was the winner. It was a long time ago, but ever since it's the brand I now use. They have a newish pasta on the market. It's in a golden colored box. It doesn't taste as good but it is more nutritious. I think it is made with chick pea flour.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  My Italian American family always used Ronzoni as our first choice growing up. When we moved to MD it was hard to find so we used a variety. Now I typically used what is on sale.

            2. re: vvvindaloo

              I think an Italian would get a big kick out of an American paying $8 for a pound of pasta. Sort of defeats the whole purpose. I'll make my own gnocchi every night of the week before I'd pay that.

              1. re: southernitalian

                Well, we're talking about a pouch of artisinal gnocchi, not factory-made dried pasta. I think the package holds more than a pound, but yes, it's expensive. I don't really mind, because it's incredibly good (and I rarely find the patience to make hundreds of little perle di patate at a time).
                I remember my cousins spending the quivalent of about $6 for a box of OREO cookies a few years back- it's all about what is readily available to you, and what is considered a specialty item.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  Yes, those packages are often 500 grammes whichh is over a pound.

                  1. re: erica

                    I have gotten "caught out" on occasion thinking that I was buying a pound based on the size of the box, and actually ending up with half a pound - I think I bought the Cirpriani brand - it was the only one I could find of the shape I was looking for out in Sag Harbor.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Leave it to Cipriani to sell pasta in .5 lb. boxes!

                      1. re: vvvindaloo

                        italians also would never sit and consume a pound of pasta, unless they're feeding 6-8 people.

                  2. re: vvvindaloo

                    I should have mentioned that those cousins (mentioned above) live in Italy.

                2. re: vvvindaloo

                  I have used Dececco in the past but after finding bugs a few times switched to Del Verde.Their pasta is great and I eat pasta 3 times a week.

                3. I agree that De Cecco is one of the best store bought dried pasta's I have tried. Even better, my local Italian specialty market sells it for 99 cents a bag! With a can of San Marzano tomatoes and a few spices, I can make a great dinner for about $4.00! For a little more, I get some meatballs made by the maket owner's 90 year old grandfather, talk about authentic! What a deal.

                  1. If Im buying off the shelf, it's Rustichella d'Abruzzo, but I prefer to order my dried pastas from salumeriaitaliana dot com, and they often have amazing small production imported pastas. Right now I have a beautiful purple radicchio pasta on my shelf...