Pasta is pasta, right? Wrong! Although it might seem hard to understand why there should be a difference between different brands of what is essentially flour and water, there are noticeable distinctions to be found from one manufacturer to another. After trying them all, we can safely say that our favourite are De Cecco. Why? They cook better, producing the right ‘al dente’ effect. So what exactly is ‘al dente’? The worst crime you can commit against pasta is to over-cook it. ‘Al dente’ means cooking the pasta to the point where the outside is soft but the inside remains slightly firm. This prevents the dish from getting mushy and sliding around your plate like dead worms. It is also healthier to eat that way as it makes the pasta more digestible and less fattening. Apparently the secret of De Cecco’s pasta is the fact that its factory is strategically located on top of a high mountain in Umbria and uses a particularly pure mineral water from a nearby natural source to make its products. This may or may not be true but the fact is that, by following the cooking times printed on the packets, you’re guaranteed to have the perfect ‘al dente’ pasta every time.
Tips: Tomato sauce is not the only option for your pasta. Try with just vegetables (zucchini, aubergines or broccoli in a pan with olive oil, onions and garlic, that’s it) and, of course, Parmesan cheese.
Make: De Cecco
Price: £1.65 (500g)