CHEAP VS EXPENSIVE PASTA: IS THERE A REAL DIFFERENCE?
Walking down the grocery isle, if you’ve ever wondered if there is an actual difference between the cheap pasta priced around $1 VS the expensive brands that start at $5 and can go quite higher than that, you’re not alone. Is expensive pasta really better than cheap pasta or is it all about packaging and marketing? How can you tell if pasta is high quality?
You’ve come to the right place for these answers. From spaghetti carbonara to fresh egg pasta, Vincenzo’s Plate is my YouTube cooking channel with a focus on cooking and exploring authentic Italian food. When it comes to Italian pasta, it’s unanimously agreed upon that pasta is a staple of Italian culture and one of the most popular dishes in the world.
Today, I’m sure I am going to change the way you eat pasta. I am joined by Gianluigi Peduzzi, an artisan pasta maker whose brand, Rustichella d’Abruzzo, is a symbol of authentic Italian pasta. He’s going to go over what actually makes artisan pasta different and how to choose the right brands when shopping for the best tasting pasta.
What is the difference between cheap and expensive pasta? What to look for when buying pasta?
On the store shelves, you’ll usually have industrial/commercial pasta VS artisan pasta going head-to-head. Because pasta is a staple in any Italian food pyramid, quality is important to us.
The biggest difference that is going to show the quality is the color. Industrial pasta comes in the “oh too familiar” shade of brown or darkened yellow and it’s very smooth. Artisan pasta is white with the slightest tint of yellow and rough to the touch. Artisan pasta makers purposefully add roughness/edges to their pasta while industrial brands smooth theirs out with Teflon/plastic.
Is expensive Italian pasta healthier?
How long the pasta dries and the temperature during the duration of that time makes all the difference in how healthy it is for you. If you watch our videos, you’ll know that Italians are the master of timing their foods to achieve the perfect taste and nutrient composition. Whether its removing Margherita pizza out of the oven at the perfect second or leaving Porchetta to cook for 8 hours, timing is crucial to every part of the process.
Artisan Italian pasta is no different. Gianluigi Peduzzi has an extensive process that takes 30-50+ hours to dry. Most industrial pasta is dried merely 3-4 hours at a staggering 185 degrees F (85 C). Because artisan pastas are slow dried, they are much easier for our bodies to digest. In addition, as pasta is a carbohydrate, the high temperatures that cheap pasta brands are heated to caramelizes the sugar, darkening the pasta. Pasta heavily reacts to this, decreasing the nutritional value and making it considerably harder on the digestive system. Artisan pasta and its slow drying process allows it to keep a similar shade to that of the semolina used. The sugar is not destroyed resulting in the integrity and characteristics of the grain being kept.
Does cheap or artisan pasta taste better?
Because artisan pasta like Rustichella D’Abruzzo is dried 10% more in comparison to it’s cheap rivals, these pastas expand more when cooked. It just about doubles in size! Along with this, artisan pastas actually absorb the sauce instead of simply being coated in it. Artisan pastas embody whatever rich flavors they are cooked with.
When you go to compare them yourself, a large pot, lots of boiling water, and 2 grams of salt per liter is all that you need. Skip the oil per the experts.
Once on your plate, it’s almost impossible to not notice how the commercial brand is lifeless. Its dull appearance and way it just lays with the sauce is not impressive. You need to see it for yourself – watch it here. There is no flavor from the pasta. All the flavor comes from the sauce and the pasta is present in texture alone. They’re not connected and almost working against each other with each bite.
Artisan pasta is truly alive! It will double in size and the sauce is absorbed and connected to it. This infusion of pasta and sauce is an incredible sensation. Each can individually be savored and enjoyed yet they are fused together at the same time. It’s a unique and incredible taste experience.
Cheap VS Expensive Pasta
When it comes to comparing cheap name brand pastas to the artisan pastas, while they come at a higher price, we cannot say enough how it is worth its price. Go for the artisan pasta, your belly (and digestive system!) will thank you, and it’s sure to bring a smile to your face and remind you that pasta can very much be a regular staple in your diet too!
Watch my full review of cheap VS expensive pasta brands on my YouTube channel.
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate… Enjoy!
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