Dear Pasta Lovers: NEW DeCecco, "Pettole Abruzzesi"
My mother called me today to tell me that she found a new DeCecco dried pasta in her grocery store. Instead of the usual 1 lb. box, this is a .5 Kilo (1.1 lbs.) bag. They are labeled a Product of Italy, and described as High Gluten, Kneaded in Cold Water, and produced via Bronze Drawing. The package also states that the pasta is made according to the same recipe of 100 years ago. I am most intrigued by the cut: Pettole Abruzzesi. They sound a lot like maltagliati- non-uniform squares of pasta with a visible roughness to them. They are labeled # 546.
I can't wait to debate with her on how to prepare them!
I don't recall ever seeing these here in the NY area. Has anyone seen/tried them?
I love a blast from the past :)
If I recall correctly, we tossed them with bolognese and topped with some fresh ricotta and parmigiano. As I know we've discussed in threads here before, the pasta definitely benefits from the bronze drawing process- the result is an incomparably toothy texture and a thicker, more luscious mouthfeel. All of DeCecco's pasta is made using this method, but somehow their specialty line, which also includes shapes such as Candele and Strangozzi, tastes and feels a little bit closer to the old-fashioned, limited-production Abruzzese method (DeCecco is an Abruzzese company).
Unfortunately, I don't see this artisanal line of De Cecco around as much as I did last year.
I think pettole would lend themselves to a nice 'Norma" preparation- tomato-based sauce made with hot pepper flakes, fresh basil and fried cubes of eggplant, topped with ricotta salata (firm and salty)- or perhaps even a crumbled sausage/bitter greens combination. I also found an Italian recipe for Pettole with a cream of pea puree that looked absolutely delicious. Further along that vein, I imagine a cream of red pepper sauce would do nicely. I would serve it with ricotta and black pepper.
De Cecco has separate packaging for US imports (the product is the same, though, as far as I know) with instructions in English.
Adam- you're right in saying that dried pasta and fresh pasta are two different animals, but their uses are really different enough that I could hardly prefer one so definitively over the other. Could you imagine eating aglio ed olio with a fresh homemade cut? Neither could I, because the texture of dried spaghetti or linguine lends itself to the preparation in a way that fresh dough could not.
If you like maltagliati, which are basically a fresh version of pettole, then you'll probably like these.
I was scratching my head over "blast from the past" till I realized your OP was dated late 2007. ;) But I'm glad your post was revived as I've never heard of this pasta and would really like to try it.
Luckily, we have an Italian market in town and the guy who answered is actually from that region and knew about the bronze-drawing method/machinery and said the factory wasn't far from where he grew up. So he's researching and will get back to me.
The cream of pea puree sounds lovely. I was actually thinking about something with ricotta and mushrooms, but first I have to get my paws on the pettole!
Edit: While scouring the Di Cecco site, I found this beautiful picture of Filled Rigatoni Napoletani (and recipe). I would guess it's a chore to stuff such small pasta, but doesn't it LOOK great? Looks/sounds more appealing than the baby octopus recipe they have for the pettole, but it's there for the taking if anyone else is interested!
ok.. I looked it up. Bronze drawing is rolling the pasta over a rough surface before it's extruded/dried so that it has more "cling" factor to grab the sauce. Must look for this, even though I'm a diehard home-made pasta guy. Some of the homemade stuff can not be duplicated w/ dried and machine extruded pasta. adam
Thanks for the tip vvv. I've never seen nor heard of these here in Oakland, CA, though we have tons of DeCecco brand everything-tomatoes, olive oil, rice, pasta etc. What is "bronze drawing"? It sounds so romantic and Michelangelo-like..;) Does the pasta have egg or just semolina/ durum flour? Are the cooking directions in English or Italian? Sorry to pepper you with so many questions, but you know how it is... adam
We were also very excited to find Pettole at a Italian grocery/ deli in Houston. Any luck with finding Pettole in the NY area and have you tried cooking them? What does your mom cook with the Pettole?
This is what we made at home:
We still have a big pack leftover and would love to get some more recipe ideas...