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June 18, 2015
Today I wanted to take some time out and explain a few things about pasta, a few things that I was oblivious to and didn’t give much care about… oh how wrong was I! If you ask many people from around the world (excluding Italians) to describe a standard pasta dish, chances are you will get a non-imaginative answer of a bowl of cooked spaghetti with a dollop of red sauce on top.
I like to think of myself as a decent cook and despite being English, I was brought up on many different cuisines, varying in different styles. My family loves pasta. Since becoming more of a foodie myself, I’ve immersed myself in cook books, TV shows, restaurants, anything to 'beef' up my repertoire (pun intended). Ingredients are fundamental to me, if I can afford the best, then the best is what gets served. But when it came down to which pasta to choose from, the only questions I asked myself was how long, what shape and dare I say it… where’s the cheapest? As I’ve said, my cooking is pretty decent, it usually earns second bowlfuls from an eager audience, but it wasn’t until recently that I figured out what was missing. The pasta!
Pasta is just as important of an ingredient as the bacon in a carbonara. The authentic way is to combine the sauce and the slightly under al dente pasta, and leave to cook a little longer, making sure the flavours soak in, evenly distributing the beautiful sauce.
Once the dough is made, it gets pushed through different sized molds depending on what type of pasta is required, this is known as the die cut. And the type of material the molds are made out of will completely change your pasta ordeal. The standard supermarket bought pasta will have been made using Teflon, a cheap and easily maintained material that leaves the pasta super smooth and shiny. A step up from that is the use of bronze dies, these leave the pasta rougher and more porous, producing a homemade quality that soaks up all that lovely sauce you’ve spent hours over.
BUT, it gets better. The next step up from that is Verrigni pasta, the pioneers of the gold die!
The Verrigni family have been in the pasta business for over 115 years, in a place, Roseto degli Abruzzi, steeped in tradition and food history. It’s the years of innovation and the quality of the raw ingredients that have made them stand out, and a cult pasta used by high level restaurants. First off, they use water that’s come down a giant mountain, Gran Sasso, which is combined with the finest Italian (and only Italian) hand ground wheat, then passed through gold die cuts. Yes, gold indeed, thanks to a cooperation with artisan-goldsmith Sandro Seccia. This gives the pasta a different consistency than the standard moulds and intensifies the overall taste. Not only that, but I found it to absorb the sauce even faster, whilst still keeping that al dente bite.
Want to impress your friends? Easy, all you need is a pack of Verrigni spaghettoro, a jar of Macelleria Fracassi's nero di chianina, top with a little fresh rosemary and BOOM… taste-sensation!
Jonny is a meat loving Butcher hailing from a tiny town in t’north of England, Wigan. Now living in Hong Kong, he caters for parties and the occasional Profood event. His favourite hobby is heading down to the wet markets and picking out veg or fish he’s never seen before and cooking up some surprise! Follow him on Instagram.
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