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Fave dry pasta brands?

TrishUntrapped Mar 11, 2011 03:13 AM

I know I read a thread on CH about dry pasta but I can't find it. People were discussing their favorite dry pasta brands. Yes, I've used the search engine...but it is eluding me. I checked all boards, not just home cooking. Can anyone help? In the alternative, what are some of your favorite dried pastas that can be found in an ordinary supermarket? Particularly pennes and spaghetti types? To be honest, I hardly notice many differences. I use Prince, Ronzoni, Barilla most often.

  1. roxlet Mar 13, 2011 02:28 PM

    I grew up eating Ronzoni dried pasta, and I have tried every conceivable brand there is. A bunch of years ago, Cook's Illustrated did a blind taste test and declared (surprisingly) Ronzoni the winner. I buy a variety of brands, from Batilla to Martelli to any odd-ball imported pasta that I see in specialty stores, but when I am in the supermarket, I will usually go for Ronzoni providing they have the shape I need.

    1. Caroline1 Mar 12, 2011 10:23 PM

      I mostly use Colavita. Well, except for their pappardelle, which is great in chicken noodle soup but nowhere near wide enough to be classified as pappardelle by me. Sorry, alkapal! But then everybody knows I'm a food snob. '-)

      However, there are times when plain old Great Value from Walmart works well. So those are the two brands I use almost exclusively

      4 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1
        s
        Sharuf Mar 13, 2011 06:00 AM

        I get my pappardelle at Trader Joe's. It's nice and wide, and makes a lovely bed for meatballs and gravy.

        1. re: Sharuf
          Caroline1 Mar 13, 2011 08:44 AM

          <sigh> Trader Joe's is an unknown commodity in Dallas! But hey, we DO finally have a 99 Ranch Market within easy driving distance of me, and we're supposed to be getting a few In'N'Out Burgers soon. We're trying to catch up but it isn't easy. The Sunflower/Newflower Farmer's Market here in Plano went belly up, and it was by far my favorite over Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Central Market, all considered from the same mold. Dallas is "rural," despite popular belief! '-)

        2. re: Caroline1
          p
          Plano Rose Mar 13, 2011 01:59 PM

          Caroline, where in Plano do you buy Colavita? Due to health issues on my part, DH does the grocery shopping. I make the list. So I can specify brands, but I have to know they exist. We have gotten past Skinner and American Beauty, however.

          1. re: Plano Rose
            Caroline1 Mar 13, 2011 09:18 PM

            I don't recall for certain, but it would have to be (in order of probability) Central Market, Albertson's, or Kroger's. I don't think Walmart carries it, but I'm not sure. Like you, others often do my shopping for me so I'm kind of fuzzy on certainty of sources. When in doubt, I just call and ask.

        3. MGZ Mar 12, 2011 10:51 AM

          I basically agree with the explanations offered by bagelman. For me, the Rustichella D'Abruzzo and Benedetto Cavalieri products taste better than any others that I have tried. They are both significantly more exensive than anything I can buy in the supermarket, but they are unquestionably my favorites.

          1. bagelman01 Mar 12, 2011 10:41 AM

            #1 I don't buy or use any pasta packed in cardboard, I can taste it and consider it inferior, it also lets air in and goes stale, so NO Barilla.

            I prefer Italian pastas for the density and bite. After years of cooking and eating I have settled on Pastene brand of Italian pasta from Massachusetts. This is one of the oldest companies importing pasta from Italy. The pastas are available in all the classic Italian shapes made for different sauces. They take loinger to cook than American dry pasta as they are dense, but worth the time. There is a nice bite to the pasta.

            I usually stock up at Market Basket in Massachusetts, typically $1-$2 per pound depending on shape. If I run out and am not going to get to Massachusetts, some Shop-Rites in South Central Connecticut carry some of the varieties.

            BTW>Pastene also markets a Marinara sauce based on a recipe from the small family owned chain of Italian restaurants in Mass called The Chateau. My wife swears by this when making Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan. I have never tasted it alone on pasta.

            www.pastene.com The company also sells mail order

            1. o
              ospreycove Mar 12, 2011 10:02 AM

              The best dry pasta I have found is Pasta Faella, Gragnano, (Napoli). An extensive assortment is available at www. gustiamo.com.
              Also look at the site http://www.pastificiofaella.com/eng/pasta.html
              another good imported pasta is Setaro limited availability in USA. One place that ships is
              http://www.buonitalia.com/default.asp...

              1. Pedr0 Mar 12, 2011 09:47 AM

                Mancini. Bit more expensive but well worth it. Available online from Primizie Foods.
                http://www.primiziefinefoods.com/Past...

                Primizie sells both Penne and Spaghetti.

                1. Delucacheesemonger Mar 12, 2011 03:45 AM

                  l am a Martelli fan, has a very long sweet spot to get al dente pasta, spaghetti only.

                  1. j
                    Jeanne Mar 11, 2011 09:21 PM

                    I'm a big fan of DeCecco also - have been using it for years. Is very, very good. I even tried their tri-colored rotini recently when my niece requested my pasta salad for a family dinner - and was surprised at how good it was.

                    1. greygarious Mar 11, 2011 04:04 PM

                      I bought the store brand of whole wheat spaghetti (Market Basket, a MA chain) and was surprised that it had a nuttier flavor than the brand names, without a trace of the bitterness that WW can impart. I prefer to buy ww pasta when I can, but of course the shapes are limited. When I want a more decorative shape, I buy Barilla. And their no-bake lasagna noodles, which are thin and contain egg, taste like fresh pasta in the finished dish. I'll never use another brand of no-bake.

                      1. EM23 Mar 11, 2011 02:50 PM

                        I really like DeCecco for my everyday needs and Delverde makes a great spinach tagliatelle that is delicious with a bolognese.

                        1. c
                          CDouglas Mar 11, 2011 10:17 AM

                          Bionaturae pappardelle is hard to beat.

                          1. alanbarnes Mar 11, 2011 09:21 AM

                            Here's the thread you were looking for:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/357951

                            In the non-artisinal category, I'm still very happy using Trader Joe's imported Italian dried pasta.

                            1. j
                              joshekg Mar 11, 2011 09:01 AM

                              My favorites are Rustichella D'Abruzzo and Setaro.

                              1. woodleyparkhound Mar 11, 2011 08:10 AM

                                I am a huge fan of DeCecco; I think it really makes a difference. I'm happy to pay more for it over the regular supermarket brands.

                                Having said that, I was using Ronzoni a few years ago and liked it almost as well, but they stopped carrying it and I haven't seen it since.

                                1. l
                                  LauraGrace Mar 11, 2011 08:00 AM

                                  I like Barilla, but I've actually been surprised by the quality of Kroger's imported store-brand as well -- presumably the same product would be available at Kroger's affiliates (Ralph's, City Market, King Soopers, etc.).

                                  If you have a Whole Foods near you, their 365 Organic pastas are great.

                                  1. s
                                    sushigirlie Mar 11, 2011 07:28 AM

                                    The Los Angeles Times did a blind spaghetti taste test:

                                    http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                    1. kattyeyes Mar 11, 2011 07:03 AM

                                      DeCecco for capellini and penne is my very fave and can be found in an ordinary supermarket.
                                      http://www.dececcousa.com/
                                      Delverde also rocks.
                                      http://www.delverde.it/page/eng/f_ita...

                                      1. srsone Mar 11, 2011 06:52 AM

                                        i always buy barilla...just the flavor of the pasta is better than most of the brands at local grocery stores...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: srsone
                                          e
                                          escondido123 Mar 11, 2011 07:44 AM

                                          Another Barilla fan. I like the fact that it does not get mushy, even the cappelini.

                                          1. re: escondido123
                                            srsone Mar 11, 2011 11:24 AM

                                            my 3 yo loves the mini ones...they r just her size...

                                        2. alkapal Mar 11, 2011 03:18 AM

                                          trish, i try to buy italian pasta, but often i am buying whichever of those are on sale. i'm not typically paying $6 for a pasta, if you see what i'm saying. i guess typically we use barilla? <see, i don't even recall just now.>

                                          BUT, here is the pasta which has impressed me the most in several years: COLAVITA pappardelle nests. the pasta is so silky <buttertart will get me for saying "silky" ;-)) and takes the sauce beautifully. http://www.colavita.com/store/index.c...

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            TrishUntrapped Mar 11, 2011 05:25 AM

                                            Alkapal, that's it! That's exactly the comment that was sticking in my mind from that thread! I am going to try them this weekend! Thank you!

                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                              alkapal Mar 11, 2011 05:59 AM

                                              alrighty then, miss trish!

                                              make sure you remove them from the pot *before* they're cooked al dente.

                                              (i don't really boil once the pasta is "in" -- as i can control the doneness if the water is just simmering [or even a little below simmering]).

                                              after removing from the pasta pot, "finish" them in your sauce still in the saute pan on low/warm.*** (i then plate, sprinkle on some fresh parsley, fresh shaved parm, and maybe [but not typically] even some toasted bread crumbs).

                                              i think i have way too many parentheticals there, but what the heck? ;-).

                                              ~~~~~~
                                              ****
                                              also, remember that there will be a little more "cooking" in a big serving bowl, so account for that in taking out before "done."

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                TrishUntrapped Mar 11, 2011 06:49 AM

                                                Will do, thanks for the tips!

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  TrishUntrapped Mar 12, 2011 04:21 AM

                                                  My store didn't have the Colavita pappardelle so I got the fettucine nests instead. Should be just as good...right?

                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                    TrishUntrapped Mar 13, 2011 08:21 AM

                                                    The Colavita fettucine nests were very good. But truthfully, I don't notice much difference among various pastas. I would buy Colavita brand again though.

                                                2. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                  goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2011 02:17 PM

                                                  here's the thread with alka's original recommendation:
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755999

                                              2. chowser Mar 11, 2011 03:17 AM

                                                I discovered Culinary Circle bronze cut pasta at Shoppers Food Warehouse and have been buying that since. Who would have thought they'd carry bronze cut pasta?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  alkapal Mar 11, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                  i'll try that to see how it "grips" the sauce. ;-).

                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                    chowser Mar 11, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                    I love it and now if I buy something else, my family complains. It's a very hearty pasta at a great price. I'm surprised it's gotten so little notice.

                                                    http://www.examiner.com/cooking-in-no...

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