Just flour and water, that’s all you need to make a dried pasta, or is it? Does it really matter what brand of dried pasta you buy? The answer to both is SI!
Dried pasta is just flour and water but of course there is no real recipe. Just like everything else in Italy, it depends! And that is what makes the process of pasta so beautiful, it is not an exact science. That’s the trick!
There are a few essentials to dried pasta from Italy that makes it taste so good when it is cooked. The way it’s dried, slow or fast, with wheat or without, all of this gives the pasta a totally different texture and a different mouthfeel when it’s cooked. The “mouthfeel” is what we call “pasta al dente” It literally means ”to the tooth”. As a general guideline, drain pasta when it has just lost its white center.
Pasta from Gragnano is an ideal location for the production of pasta, it sits on a plain facing the sea, on the southeast Golfo di Napoli, at the base of Monti Lattari. In this area after midday, the hot air of the terraferma rises and leaves room for the fresher and heavier air from the Golfo, which brings with it humidity from the sea. At night the sea pulls back its humidity, leaving Gragnano with a mild and stable climate the entire year round. This type of atmosphere allows the pasta to dry gradually. The city’s water is the last essential element that creates the unique flavor of Gragnano pasta, recognizable from the very first bite. The water used in the dough has very little calcium and comes from the streams of Mount Faito; this water gives the pasta unique characteristics.
It’s all in the details when you want a delectable bowl of pasta, that tastes like what you would eat in a piazza in southern Italy.