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Boxed Pasta vs. Homemade

d
dbirney May 1, 2012 04:01 AM

As per usual I always have the odd thought or two before falling asleep.

Am I missing out on good pasta by being content to throw in store bought pasta? Or would taking the time to make my own be worth it? Any thoughts appreciated.

  1. e
    escondido123 Feb 11, 2013 09:16 PM

    I just started making ricotta gnocchi. Fresh plump pillows for two in 15 minutes, another five to cook them once the water is boiling. The tenderest, lightest gnocchi I have had anywhere--including Italy. And I hear they are wonderful boiled and then fried in a mix of butter and olive oil. Will be trying that next week.

    1. m
      margiabc Feb 11, 2013 07:40 PM

      I recently did a 4 x 2 hour pasta making course. I loved making and eating eat, but I would still use dried pasta for some dishes. It depends on the sauce or filling you want to use. So simple to make cannelloni with fresh pasta as I find rather than trying to fill dry cannelloni tubes.

      1. fldhkybnva Jan 9, 2013 12:01 PM

        I had my first taste of fresh pasta in a huge hunk of lasagna that I recently enjoyed at a local family-owned Italian restaurant. It was very delicious, but as I don't think I have the most refined taste buds I didn't really taste too much of a difference in terms of the pasta itself. Of course the flavors were better given that it was home-made but the pasta seemed the same as the usual boxed pasta that my mother always used. Can anyone describe the taste differences between fresh and boxed?

        3 Replies
        1. re: fldhkybnva
          ttoommyy Jan 9, 2013 12:07 PM

          It's more of a texture rather then taste difference, at least for me. But like many of us have said in this thread, dried pasta is not inferior to fresh pasta and if you did not taste a difference there is absolutely nothing wrong with your taste buds.

          1. re: ttoommyy
            Jay F Jan 9, 2013 12:14 PM

            Box pasta and egg pasta are not substitutes for each other. They're both good. I'd much rather have egg pasta in lasagne, but for macaroni and cheese, or baked pasta in Bolognese and Besciamella, I choose cavatappi, which comes in a box only (AFAIK).

          2. re: fldhkybnva
            JuniorBalloon Jan 9, 2013 12:26 PM

            The taste and texture difference will depend on the flour used, how much hydration and whether you're making an egg pasta or no egg. I didn’t read every post, but most seemed to be making a distinction between homemade egg pasta and dried, no egg pasta bought at the store. You can make either at home and each has their own uses. Pappardelle is great with a hearty meat sauce. It's also good with pesto or butter and garlic, but I would prefer a tagliatelle for the latter. I have yet to make spaghetti or linguine or penne which are traditionally no egg pasta.

            If you use All Purpose or even the vaunted 00 I don't think you'll taste much difference and, IMHO, the pasta doesn't get a good bite, too soft. I like semolina and recently used a brand named Vero Lucano that was the best yet.

            Like many things until you try several and go back and forth you might not notice the difference as you won't know what to look for. First time you try it, it might not even register and you might give it a "meh". The first pasta I made was a disaster.

            The whole "is it worth it" question is an interesting one. Sometimes making it yourself will only be 10% better than the store bought. Is that worth it? Depends on the person. Cooking for me is more than just feeding my face, it's entertainment, it's history and it helps me connect with my friends and family. For many people the 5$ large cheese pizza at Little Ceasar’s is more than good enough. They can't imagine going to the trouble of making their own. For you? Only giving it a try will tell. Go for it.

            jb

          3. THewat May 3, 2012 01:32 PM

            I, like many posters, use fresh & dried for different things. I do have a pasta roller & find that making fresh egg pasta for two people is pretty quick, easy & pleasurable.

            1. b
              bob96 May 2, 2012 07:33 PM

              Forget the grape > raisin analog for fresh > dried pasta; dried is not just a more convenient or modernized version of fresh, but represents an entirely different, long-established foodway. In the Italian south, esp. Naples, dried pasta is the default, fresh an exception, and even fresh pasta there is often made with durum wheat and without egg. Taste, texture, history, uses, go back to divergent traditions. That said, both can be wonderful treasures. Fresh pasta (usually assumed to be all'uova, or with egg) is silky, soft, and absorbent, while quality dried, durum wheat pasta is nutty, and sturdier. Never assume that "boxed" pasta is a fast food substitute for something you ought to be making at home--the best dried pasta stands by itself. The range of southern Italian sauces work best with dried pasta--oil- and tomato-based sauces tend to saturate pasta fresca in unpleasant ways. Look for such imported brands as Garofalo, DeCecco, DelVerde, Cocco, Rummo--the wheaty smell of good dried pasta boiling away is unmistakable and mouthwatering.

              27 Replies
              1. re: bob96
                ttoommyy May 3, 2012 07:28 AM

                Thank you bob96 for stating so well what I was unable to.

                1. re: ttoommyy
                  erica May 3, 2012 07:35 AM

                  Companion thread here. If anyone was to tell me, 10 years ago, that I would be willing to spend $8. for a bag of dried pasta, I would have been incredulous. But after experimenting with the various brands of dried pastas out there, and realizing just how far superior they are to the big supermarket names (including US-made Barilla), I will not use anything else but those top quality imported brands. For those in the NYC area, there are stores on Arthur Avenue that sell pastas from Giuseppe Cocco, Benedetto Cavalieri, and other premier Italian manufacturers, for less than $4 a 500gr bag/box. This, compared with the close to $10 that you might pay for the same in fancy Manhattan gourmet stores.

                  http://www.pastacheese.com/benedettocavalierispaghettine.aspx

                  http://www.pastacocco.com/ing/index.htm

                  http://www.pennmac.com/page/21/giuseppe-cocco-pasta-dry-pasta

                  http://gustiamo.com/cgi-bin/front_end/prodotto?id=296

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637457

                  1. re: erica
                    Karl S May 3, 2012 10:04 AM

                    I've gone the opposite route: I used to buy mostly artisinal pasta, but found that much of what is in the supermarket is perfectly delicious.

                    1. re: Karl S
                      e
                      escondido123 May 3, 2012 10:10 AM

                      Although I can see that some of the artisinal pasta is better in a side-by-side comparison, I don't really appreciate that difference when it is the only one I'm eating--especially given the cost difference.

                      1. re: escondido123
                        Karl S May 3, 2012 10:30 AM

                        Even then, when I've mixed artisinal and non-artisinal pastas of the same shape together and dressed them very simply (butter, pepper and grated cheese, maybe some garlic and/or green herb), the flavor differences are pretty negligible; the textural differences are noticeable, but not *that* noticeable (and, actually, the artisinal is not always better), and certainly not enough to justify the price premium.

                        1. re: Karl S
                          ttoommyy May 3, 2012 10:49 AM

                          Just like with every other product on the market, there are good and bad within the high priced artisinal pastas. It's just a matter of trial and error until you find one you like. I usually have a mix of Barilla, De Cecco and some sort of artisanal Italian import in my house at any given time.

                          1. re: ttoommyy
                            Karl S May 3, 2012 11:10 AM

                            Oh, I had me the "good" stuff.

                          2. re: Karl S
                            erica May 3, 2012 10:56 AM

                            For me, it's all about the texture of the "better" quality dried pastas and, for some reason, the differences are much more apparent with long pastas than with the cut shapes. The Martelli spaghetti is worth the premium price, to me. (For a main course, I use a half-pound for two people, so that $8 bag of 500 gr. will feed 4 people.) But when I tried the penne, I could not discern enough of a difference to justify the price, which with this brand is much higher.

                            And if using the Cocco or Cavalieri brands (less than $4 bag of half kilo), the price per serving drops tremendously.

                            We all have our ways to economize: I am one of those who re-uses ZipLoc bags!

                            1. re: erica
                              Karl S May 3, 2012 11:10 AM

                              I re-use them, too.

                              1. re: erica
                                b
                                bob96 May 3, 2012 11:12 AM

                                I've had mediocre Italian artisanal pasta dressed up and priced as "artisanal" (you can often find them in cheap plastic bags,often made in some industrial park outside Bari or Cosenza, sometimes sitting forlornly on a shelf, even in Italian American shops.. For everyday, DeCecco, deMartino, and Garofalo are all just fine. I'll get a more expensive brand for a special shape (like, say, a maccheroni ai ferri or casarecci). I can sometimes find a deal on Cocco or Cavalleri, and I grab it.

                                1. re: bob96
                                  erica May 3, 2012 11:45 AM

                                  Definitely! I've even brought home dried cut "artisanal" pasta from Puglia that professed to be made by Mama in her kitchen outside Ostuni, or some such blather. Turned out to be no better than ordinary supermarket pasta. Unless I can find something really unusual (bought some orecchiette with "burned wheat" flour" last time) I just do my buying here in the US since we have access to such good stores in NYC area.

                                  1. re: bob96
                                    mbfant May 3, 2012 02:15 PM

                                    I had a brief but interesting conversation with a Roman chef-restaurateur yesterday. I saw a lot of De Cecco and a little Cocco in his kitchen and asked him about it. He said Cocco and Cavalieri are great, and he uses them, but in general the small artisanal makers are unreliable. The result can be different from batch to batch, which he can't allow in his restaurant. He thinks De Cecco is good, reliable, and consistent. So are Cocco and Cavalieri, but he had harsh words for others. I wanted to ask about Garofalo, which I have begun buying sometimes, but never got the chance.

                                    1. re: mbfant
                                      b
                                      bob96 May 3, 2012 02:28 PM

                                      Garofalo is about the equal of DeCecco, though just slightly more expensive in
                                      NYC.DeCecco uses bronze dies for some forms. I really like the Di Martino brand, like Garofalo, also from Gragnano.
                                      http://www.pastadimartino.com/pastifi...

                                  2. re: erica
                                    b
                                    bmorecupcake May 4, 2012 01:19 PM

                                    I also reuse ziplocs, but do you ever feel like the water you use to wash the ziploc bags is more wasteful than reusing the bag?

                                    1. re: bmorecupcake
                                      tommy May 4, 2012 04:52 PM

                                      I'd guess the water and energy used to manufacture and distribute those bags far outweigh the water/energy/money to reuse them. Just a guess though

                        2. re: bob96
                          d
                          DougRisk May 3, 2012 07:32 AM

                          I don't know much about Pasta, dried or fresh, but do you prefer dried pasta that comes from bronze dyes?

                          Also, I remember on Molto Mario that Mario Batali had said that some Italians prefer Double Zero (00) flour for Pasta (I can't remember if he was referring to Dried or Fresh). I bring this up because it is my understanding that Double Zero flour is low in protein and is quite similar to what we might call Pastry or Cake flour. And, since it is low in protein, seems like an unusual choice for (developed gluten) pasta. Any thoughts on that?

                          1. re: DougRisk
                            ttoommyy May 3, 2012 07:48 AM

                            "...but do you prefer dried pasta that comes from bronze dyes?"

                            While I don't consciously seek out only dried pasta extruded from bronze dies, it is a bonus when buying the better imported Italian brands. The bronze dies cause the pasta's surface to become textured and in turn the textured surface helps to hold the sauce. Plus they have a nice mouth feel. Mmmmmm...

                            Now I want nice bowl of pasta...and it's only 10:50am! :)

                            1. re: ttoommyy
                              d
                              DougRisk May 3, 2012 07:51 AM

                              I once saw something on Discovery, or possibly Food Network, showing the use of Bronze dyes in making pasta and how the guy that was using it (the Italian in charge of the pasta making) was talking about its texture being different. Plus, it looked cool.

                              Tommy, any thoughts on the Double Zero flour?

                              1. re: DougRisk
                                ttoommyy May 3, 2012 08:50 AM

                                That is something I am not well schooled in. I've never read up on this. I don't know why, but when it comes to all the types of flours there are my eyes glaze over and I just reach for my tried and true unbleached all-purpose flour.

                                1. re: DougRisk
                                  mbfant May 3, 2012 02:19 PM

                                  Farina 00 is made from grano tenero, soft wheat, and is correct for pasta all’uovo, egg pasta. For flour-and-water formats (spaghetti, cavatelli, gnocchetti, strozzapreti, pici, fusilli, etc., etc.) farina (or semola) di grano duro, durum wheat, is the only acceptable kind. By law all dried pasta sold in Italy, egg or not, must be durum wheat, but fresh egg pasta usually uses grano tenero, i.e., double zero.

                                  1. re: mbfant
                                    d
                                    DougRisk May 4, 2012 06:28 AM

                                    "Farina 00 is made from grano tenero, soft wheat, and is correct for pasta all’uovo, egg pasta."

                                    So, can you explain that?

                                    According to Wikipedia (which is not God, I understand), Double Zero (00) flour is low in protein and is quite similar to our Pastry of Cake flour. My assumption would have been that we would not want that for any kind of pasta because of the protein content...it will not develop as much gluten.

                                    Does that assumption make sense? Where does it go wrong?

                                    1. re: DougRisk
                                      mbfant May 4, 2012 06:33 AM

                                      Sorry, I can't do the science. But it is certain that 00 is used for fresh pasta all’uovo and grano duro for pasta acqua e farina. While 00 is similar to cake flour, it is normally equated with all-purpose for the purpose of pasta making. Cake flour would not be suitable. Dried pasta all’uovo is also make with grano duro.

                                      1. re: mbfant
                                        d
                                        DougRisk May 4, 2012 06:42 AM

                                        OK, thank you.

                                      2. re: DougRisk
                                        BubblyOne May 4, 2012 10:59 AM

                                        I can't find 00 flour and have been using a mix of cake flour and AP with good results.

                                        1. re: DougRisk
                                          chowser May 4, 2012 01:57 PM

                                          You don't want gluten development for fresh pasta. You don't get that same toothiness as you would from dried pasta. You're looking for that soft silkiness that you'd get from low protein flour.

                                      3. re: DougRisk
                                        chowser May 4, 2012 02:02 PM

                                        It's bronze cut pasta made with bronze dies, not made with dye. Regular pasta makers give a smooth surface but the bronze dies make a rougher one that holds the sauce better. This might be helpful (near the bottom, about cuts):

                                        http://www.delallo.com/articles/wheat-and-water

                                        a picture:

                                        http://belchergastronomique.wordpress...

                                        Culinary Circle actually makes a pretty good bronze cut pasta, under $2 a pound. It's become my go-to for store-bought pasta.

                                  2. re: bob96
                                    j
                                    jvanderh May 4, 2012 11:13 AM

                                    "dried is not just a more convenient or modernized version of fresh, but represents an entirely different, long-established foodway. . ." much like raisins, which are thought to be about as old as grapes.

                                  3. a
                                    AlkieGourmand May 2, 2012 05:14 PM

                                    For those who are interested: The LA Time did a taste test on boxed spaghettis. See results here:

                                    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/nov/...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: AlkieGourmand
                                      tommy May 2, 2012 05:41 PM

                                      All this talk of "boxed" pasta. It's just "dried" pasta, is it not? I've never heard the term "boxed pasta" before this thread.

                                    2. s
                                      StrandedYankee May 1, 2012 09:43 PM

                                      Personally, for thinner, more delicate pastas I prefer dried varieties. Angel hair through linguini, give me dried. When it comes to fettuccine, tagliatelle, lasagna and the larger tube pastas, I prefer fresh.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: StrandedYankee
                                        ttoommyy May 2, 2012 06:07 AM

                                        "When it comes to fettuccine, tagliatelle, lasagna..."

                                        I agree 100%. Once you've had the fresh versions of these types of pasta, there is no comparison.

                                      2. a
                                        AlkieGourmand May 1, 2012 09:33 PM

                                        Good boxed pasta is a terrific product. It's not as sensuous as fresh egg pasta, but it holds up better to savory sauces. Look for Latini (especially red box) or Rustichella (or buy them on Amazon) and cook them al dente.

                                        1. e
                                          escondido123 May 1, 2012 12:56 PM

                                          Rather than making fresh pasta, you might want to try your hand at gnocchi. No special equipment is needed and if you get good at that, you'll impress everyone and it's not something you can easily buy. (You could start with semolina gnocchi then move on to ricotta gnocchi and the hardest to make, potato.)

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: escondido123
                                            chowser May 1, 2012 01:51 PM

                                            This is a good idea. I've tried making pasta w/ a wine bottle and failed miserably. It helps to have a pasta roller, which I eventually ended up getting. But, gnocchi requires no extra equipment and it's harder to buy good gnocchi for me than fresh pasta.

                                            1. re: chowser
                                              d
                                              dbirney May 1, 2012 02:44 PM

                                              Any recipe suggestions? Gnocchi might be doable. I'm in college so getting any sort of pasta maker is an expense that I can't justify making at this point in my life. I always just wonder what the difference would be between box/homemade whenever I'm tossing the boxed pasta in the water.

                                              I've gotten weird looks comments whenever people see what spices or other items I have floating in my cupboard. I wonder what a pasta maker would do =) Most people only go as far as to cook Kraft Mac n Cheese here hahah.

                                              1. re: dbirney
                                                e
                                                escondido123 May 1, 2012 03:48 PM

                                                This recipe from the NY Times for Semolina Gnocchi looked good--but you will have to get semolina flour. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/din...

                                                1. re: escondido123
                                                  d
                                                  dbirney May 1, 2012 10:24 PM

                                                  Bookmarked. Thanks a bunch!

                                                2. re: dbirney
                                                  chowser May 1, 2012 04:35 PM

                                                  If you want to know the difference, without making it, just find an Italian restaurant that makes its own (make sure to order the dish that has it because most do both, depending on the dish). For gnocchi, I use Lydia's with potatoes:

                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                  I don't have a ricer for the potatoes. I use a box grater. It requires hands of teflon, which I don't have.

                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    e
                                                    escondido123 May 1, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                    I admire your ability to make potato gnocchi. My husband made them once years ago and they were light little clouds....since then they're more like heavy balls of potato. I am determined to make them again and get it right...any tried and true techniques?

                                                    1. re: escondido123
                                                      chowser May 1, 2012 05:07 PM

                                                      No ability. :-) Sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don't, I've always said what I missed out on was having an Italian grandmother. I'm tempted to get a ricer and see if that helps. Maybe some days I'm more heavy handed when it comes to grating hot potatoes.

                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                        e
                                                        escondido123 May 2, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                        Ricer or food mill does make a huge difference.

                                                    2. re: chowser
                                                      b
                                                      bmorecupcake May 1, 2012 10:01 PM

                                                      Unfortunately, all the homemade potato gnocchi I've had at restaurants have been dense, not light and fluffy as I have often heard potato gnocchi described. I was starting to believe that's just how potato gnocchi was supposed to be, but this discussion has given me hope.

                                                      1. re: bmorecupcake
                                                        ttoommyy May 2, 2012 06:05 AM

                                                        "Unfortunately, all the homemade potato gnocchi I've had at restaurants have been dense, not light and fluffy as I have often heard potato gnocchi described."

                                                        Depends on the quality of the restaurant. A typical Italian-American place with homemade gnocchi? I'll never order it. If it is a higher quality restaurant that specializes in more authentic Italian dishes, then I will try the homemade gnochhi. Most of the time they are as they should be: light and airy, with a little chew to them.

                                                      2. re: chowser
                                                        d
                                                        dbirney May 1, 2012 10:28 PM

                                                        Bookmarked. Thanks a bunch! =)

                                                        1. re: dbirney
                                                          hotoynoodle May 3, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                          i like semolina gnocchi quite a lot, but these are my favorites. it's a pate choux paste as a foundation and super easy. they are light as a cloud.

                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                          you can bake the batch in large casserole pan and omit the truffles. the cheese can be french muenster. that Bra Tenero can be the dickens to find.

                                                      3. re: dbirney
                                                        j
                                                        jvanderh May 4, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                        If you're near any thrift stores, don't forget to check those. Pasta makers are something people often buy, never use, and get rid of. Just make sure it has a handle.

                                                  2. dave_c May 1, 2012 11:56 AM

                                                    I suggest going ahead and making fresh pasta. It's fun to give it a shot.

                                                    I'm made Hazan's lasagne recipe which turned out very nice. However, it was a lot of work though.

                                                    There are many recipes on the web with varying degrees of difficulty.

                                                    Most of the time I use dried pasta for the convenience.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: dave_c
                                                      ttoommyy May 1, 2012 12:40 PM

                                                      "Most of the time I use dried pasta for the convenience."

                                                      But there are so many shapes of dried pasta that you could never make with fresh pasta. And that's another plus for dried pasta: the various shapes have different mouth feels, hold the sauce differently, etc. One should never look at dried pasta as only being "convenient."

                                                      That said, I do agree that the OP should try to make fresh pasta. It can be wonderful in and of itself.

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                                        dave_c May 2, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                        Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I tend to grab what is convenient/what I have in the pantry for a dish. A couple times a lasange became a baked ziti dish or a spaghetti casserole. :-)
                                                        lol

                                                        1. re: ttoommyy
                                                          m
                                                          MoziCat Jan 9, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                          "But there are so many shapes of dried pasta that you could never make with fresh pasta."

                                                          Not really. Tubular macaroni-type and alphabet noodles are about it. Extrusion pasta is more for looks than taste. You can make bow tie (farfalle), Brigand Hats (Cappellacci Dei Briganti), and other visually interesting pastas fairly easily. YouTube has some great "How To" videos, some with old nonnas cranking the stuff out at an amazing speed.

                                                          The mouth feel is more due to cooking time, as you can make home made pasta with just flour and water, and use different types of flour to make it.

                                                          Holding sauce differently is purely down to the shape of the noodle.

                                                          Boxed pasta IS only for convenience. Once you practice making it enough to where it doesn't take an inordinate amount of time, you'll reach for the flour and your rolling pin (or roller machine) over the boxed stuff any day.

                                                          I grew up with a mother who made pasta. As an adult, I ate boxed stuff for decades (mainly tubular macaroni, though). When I started buying the "fancy shapes" in a box, I quickly realized the inferior taste and mouth feel, and went back to my roots and learned how to make it by hand again.

                                                          My Most Beloved gifted me with a motorized Atlas pasta machine this past Christmas, and I'm doubting I'll ever buy boxed pasta again...

                                                          1. re: MoziCat
                                                            ttoommyy Jan 9, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                            Don't forget rotelle (wagon wheels) or fiori; I doubt one could make those with fresh pasta.

                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                              m
                                                              MoziCat Jan 9, 2013 09:54 AM

                                                              Wagon and fiori are both extruded tubular noodles, though. Just bound together and then cut into short widths. And if you have the proper tools, you can make extruded noodles at home. It's just cutting the extrusions cleanly that is the problem...Bucatelli, which is a spaghetti-like noodle with a hole through the center can be made with a sit down press. The intent is that the strands be at least 6 feet long...

                                                              Machine made pasta is merely for consumer convenience, and most ready-made food stuffs are, from packaged salads, to instant-oatmeal. Almost all of it can be made from scratch with better taste, texture and nutrition. Pasta is one of those foodstuffs that really isn't that complicated or time consuming to make yourself. It's one of the earliest foods man made.

                                                              1. re: MoziCat
                                                                ttoommyy Jan 9, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                Sorry, but I still say you cannot make fiore or rotelle at home and how much more nutritionally sound would it be if I could when the box of pasta lists as ingredients: semolina/durum flour and water? I'll take buying a box of rotelle any day over making fresh pasta dough and trying to shape a wagon wheel at home. Buy the time I had a pound of these things it would be the next day. Plus, I really have no problem with the taste of boxed pasta vs. homemade. The boxed pasta I buy is of good quality.

                                                      2. ttoommyy May 1, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                        "Am I missing out on good pasta by being content to throw in store bought pasta?"

                                                        Others have said this but it does bear repeating: they are two totally different animals. It's like comparing apples and oranges. If you think you are not a good home cook because you do not make your own pasta and buy boxed, get that thought right out of your head. Even the best home cooks and restaurants in Italy use good quality boxed pasta. One is not a substitute for the other.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: ttoommyy
                                                          e
                                                          escondido123 May 1, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                          "good quality boxed pasta"

                                                          That is key to dried pasta. If you buy the relly cheap stuff it will go from done right to mushy in a moment. I personally like Barilla because it stays firm even when overcooked and I cna get it on sale regularly. I do likie some of the "bronze" cut pastas, but boy can they be expensive.

                                                          1. re: escondido123
                                                            ttoommyy May 1, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                            I too like Barilla if I am not splurging for the bronze cut dried pasta. And here in NYC at certain Italian markets, one can get the imported Barilla from Italy in many different shapes that are not available in the made in the USA Barilla.

                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                              tommy May 2, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                              And here I think Barilla gets gummy! I prefer DeCecco (and even Ronzoni in a pinch).

                                                              Is the imported Barilla different from the domestic? I had naively assumed that it all came from Italy.

                                                              1. re: tommy
                                                                BubblyOne May 2, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                I agree with your comment on Barilla- plus, it doesn't hold up very well when you need to transfer to a pan with sauce for additional cooking- even when removing from the water a couple of minutes before al dente. I like DeCecco, Latini and Lidia has a newish pasta line that is very dense and perfect for her recipes. I've found it for $1.49 a box on sale and it's excellent.

                                                                1. re: tommy
                                                                  c
                                                                  Chowrin May 2, 2012 07:15 PM

                                                                  i think it's all american wheat, which is better quality than italian. that said, you can't get tubutini in the states.

                                                                  1. re: Chowrin
                                                                    ttoommyy May 3, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                                    "you can't get tubutini in the states."

                                                                    Sure you can. Where do you live Chowrin? Even Ronzoni, an American brand, makes it:

                                                                    http://pasta-products-ronzoni.newworl...

                                                            2. re: ttoommyy
                                                              d
                                                              DougRisk May 2, 2012 06:44 AM

                                                              "It's like comparing apples and oranges."

                                                              I might say it is like comparing fresh grapes to raisins. They are both good ingredients, but they are not the same.

                                                              1. re: DougRisk
                                                                ttoommyy May 2, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                "I might say it is like comparing fresh grapes to raisins. "

                                                                Not really, because a raisin always starts out as a fresh grape. Dried pasta does not always start out as fresh pasta. While dried pasta only has flour and water, fresh pasta can also contain eggs and olive oil.

                                                                Maybe it's more like comparing nectarines to peaches?

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy
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                                                                  escondido123 May 2, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                                  One can buy dried egg pasta in both Italian form and American egg noodles. I've used the American kind for an Alfredo and it was okay.

                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                    ttoommyy May 2, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                    Yes, I realize that escondido123 (though I did not consider this when I wrote my post above) but I think the dried pasta most people are thinking of is the basic flour and water variety.

                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy
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                                                                    DougRisk May 2, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                    What I meant was, Grapes and Raisins have a lot in common, like Fresh and Dried Pasta, but are used very differently. Whereas, apples and oranges are often thought of as two very different fruits.

                                                                    1. re: DougRisk
                                                                      ttoommyy May 2, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                      Gotcha. Thank for the clarification.

                                                              2. BubblyOne May 1, 2012 10:43 AM

                                                                I really enjoy making homemade ravioli and it's pretty easy with a KitchenAide pasta attachment. Plus, they freeze so well and make a fast week night dinner. Over the weekend I made 80 with a mushroom duxelle, but for Easter I did a fresh pea with mint as an app (from a chef on Martha Stewart's show) that was excellent.
                                                                Other than that, I use a good quality boxed for most everything else.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: BubblyOne
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                                                                  sandlee1 Apr 5, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                  I would love it if you would share your ravioli dough recipe and do you use a pasta machine to role out your dough and if you do what thickness setting is the last setting you use?

                                                                2. chowser May 1, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                  As others have said, they're different, not one better than another. If you want a pasta w/ a bite that holds sauce, use dried. If you want smooth silkier (for lack of a better word), go w/ fresh. FWIW, I love home made pasta, once spent a day making enough for 25 some people. None of them noticed. I haven't bothered making it from scratch for them again since they like the box just as much. So, it might not be worth it to you.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                    Crockett67 May 2, 2012 07:00 PM

                                                                    I'm sorry to hear, that can hurt. At least you made it and know how to if you want to make it for more deserving crowd.

                                                                    1. re: Crockett67
                                                                      chowser May 3, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                      Thanks. And, I also know how much work it is to do for that many people so I can judge accordingly. I have done home made lasagna, all from scratch, for that many people who have loved it (or were kind enough to say they did...). Live and learn.

                                                                  2. nasv May 1, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                    One is not meant to be a replacement for the other - different ingredients for different applications. With exception, I tend to see olive oil based sauces together with store-bought pasta, and butter based sauces to not overwhelm the delicacy of homemade fresh pastas.

                                                                    I agree with the comments from overthinkit and katecm.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nasv
                                                                      scubadoo97 May 2, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                      Agreed as well

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                                                                        MoziCat Jan 9, 2013 08:55 AM

                                                                        Agreed that one is not a replacement for the other, but to use the "elitist" mindthink that any type of sauce is more designed for store bought pasta is an utter fallacy. Pesto is pretty much olive oil based, and like butter, utterly delectable over home made pasta. ANY sauce goes with home made pasta, it's the SHAPE of the pasta that determines which sauce you pair it with.

                                                                        Store bought pasta was and is created for long term storage, little more. With the exception of extruded tubular pasta, almost any shape of pasta you see in a box, you can make at home by hand (with some time and effort, of course).

                                                                        Homemade pasta is about as easy as it gets, folks. 3/4 cup flour, 1 egg, and a few tablespoons of milk or water, mixed together, cover and let rest 1/2 hour, flour your cutting board or counter, then roll it out about the thickness of quarter, cut it , and boil it in salted water for about 8-10 minutes (less if you roll it paper thin, then only 3-4 minutes).
                                                                        Serve it with butter or olive oil, a sprinkling of pepper or cheese, and enjoy.

                                                                        Heavier sauces, like tomato or meat take a bit longer, because you need to shape the pasta, like orichetti shells, or cavatelli ridged shells, to give the sauce something to hold on to. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half, including resting time, but the taste and texture is well worth the extra few minutes...

                                                                        But in Italy, people would think you're crazy in the head to prefer boxed pasta to fresh anytime...

                                                                        1. re: MoziCat
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                                                                          escondido123 Jan 9, 2013 12:59 PM

                                                                          Fresh pasta can be wonderful, but I don't prefer it every time. I like the firm texture of a dried spaghetti that is quite different from what I create by hand. Both great, but for some dishes I find the dried to be superior.

                                                                          1. re: escondido123
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                                                                            divadmas Jan 9, 2014 12:54 PM

                                                                            i haven't had a lot of homemade pasta but the texture seems different, softer, maybe because of the flour? and its not just from the faster cooking time. factories have access to oddball flours and semolina that most households don't.

                                                                      2. Hank Hanover May 1, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                        I have never made pasta. I assume making it will taste better. I, however, am not going to mess with making pasta. It isn't worth the time and mess to me.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover
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                                                                          amateurcook2 Jan 25, 2013 02:24 PM

                                                                          I recently started making homemade pasta. It takes at least 1 hr. I found out that surprisingly, the greatest benefit is being able to flavor the pasta dough with herbs, etc. Now I am hooked!

                                                                          Sure it sounds like a long process, but when you make extra pasta noodles to freeze, it really pays off. You end up with a whole stock that you can take out any time and just cook easily.

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                                                                          escondido123 May 1, 2012 09:44 AM

                                                                          If you are talking about dried egg noodles vs fresh egg pasta, then you will certainly see a difference and it can matter in some dishes as overthinkit suggested. But if you're talking about dried non-egg pasta, your basic spaghetti, penne etc, they are not only dry but egg free which gives them a different flavor and texture. They are the standard choice for many dishes and often it will be specified. (For example, I make a creamy 4 cheese baked dish that uses either shells or penne--if I made it with egg noodles (fresh or dry) it would not work as well.)

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                                                                            overthinkit May 1, 2012 05:52 AM

                                                                            I think it depends on what you're making.
                                                                            For some things fresh pasta is waaaay better. For some things, I think dry pasta is actually the way to go.
                                                                            Macella Hazan's lasagna is all about showcasing the fresh pasta. So are things like tagliatelle and ravioli.
                                                                            But if you're making pasta with olive oil and garlic or carbonara, then I think it works best to go with dry boxed pasta. Similarly, I think fresh pasta would be wasted on a typical American lasagna that's all about the filling.
                                                                            I actually saw a list somewhere where they broke down the kinds of pastas that work best for various kinds of dishes. Maybe in CI's pasta bible?
                                                                            I've been learning to make fresh pasta and I love it, but it takes some time and some patience and you have to know going in that it's probably not going to turn out right the first time. I highly recommend getting some 00 flour if you do... it vastly improves the texture.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: overthinkit
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                                                                              cleobeach May 1, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                              I appreciate this information. I have wanted to try to make my own pasta for some time now but haven't set aside an evening.

                                                                              There is content in one of Lynn Rosetto Casper's (sp?) about when boxes pasta is "good enough" but I can't remember which one.

                                                                              1. re: cleobeach
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                                                                                katecm May 1, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                I'd say there are even times when dried pasta is the way to go. For example, ever time I have leftover short ribs, I make a pasta dish using shredded meat. I would never want that with fresh pasta, since I want the pasta to be good and al dente to support that hefty sauce. Meanwhile, one of the best things about homemade pasta is its daintiness and smoothness, and the ability to make filled pastas to your whim.

                                                                                1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                  hotoynoodle May 3, 2012 09:11 AM

                                                                                  "There is content in one of Lynn Rosetto Casper's (sp?) about when boxes pasta is "good enough" "

                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                  this is the kind of remark that can send certain types of home cooks into fits. fresh pasta is for good for specific applications, but good quality dried pasta is best for others.

                                                                                  i have made pasta a few times and while the outcome was excellent, i feel it's not worth the mess and the time. i can buy excellent fresh pasta sheets when i want them and will spend the little bit extra for good dried stuff.

                                                                                2. re: overthinkit
                                                                                  hotoynoodle May 3, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                                                  http://www.chow.com/food-news/54492/w...

                                                                                  finding the right pasta shape for your dish. this is key.

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