In Italy, dried pasta is just as highly regarded as fresh—and a far cry from the anemic strands that pass for spaghetti in supermarkets stateside. Happily, a growing number of American producers are taking up a venerable pasta-making (and drying) tradition and putting a locavore spin on it—sourcing high-quality wheats grown and milled in their regions—to make proper pasta secca.
No need to smuggle back noodles from your next Roman holiday. Primo dried pastas are now made in the USA.
The following products are made mainly of durum wheat, the classic choice for pasta because it doesn’t absorb water as fast as softer wheat, and is therefore more likely to maintain a nice al dente texture when cooked. Most are also extruded through forged bronze dies, which give pasta a rough texture that helps sauce cling to the surface. And rather than being blasted with heat as in industrial methods, the shapes are slowly dried at just above room temperature. It takes more time, but helps the noodles retain all the nutrients and flavor that lovingly, locally grown wheat has to offer. These pastas are so good we insist you treat them as Italians would, not as a mere delivery system for sauce, but as an ingredient to savor in themselves.