When you think of Italy one of the very first things that will come to mind is bound to be pasta! As one of the nation’s most popular staples, pasta is used in a vast array of dishes, right across the country. Consequently, it’s no wonder that Italy produces and sells some of the world’s best pasta brands.
There’s a lot of competition in Italy when it comes to making pasta but there are some brands that are not only household names but represent the finest traditions of pasta making. Affordable, high-quality and made with carefully sourced ingredients, Italy’s top pasta brands should always have a place in your kitchen cupboard.
The following are some of the most popular pasta brands in Italy:
Barilla is a family-run pasta brand that was founded in 1877 and is the world’s largest pasta maker. The company has approximately 25% of Italy’s total market share in ready-to-cook pasta. Sold in 98% of Italian supermarkets, Barilla produces over 160 shapes and sizes of pasta that are used in households and restaurants all over Italy and the world.
Always embracing new innovations and concepts, Barilla launched one of Italy’s first factories that had a continuous baking oven in 1910, giving the company a significant advantage over its competitors. In modern times, Barilla seeks to reduce the environmental impact of pasta making and is taking active steps to minimize the use of plastics and other difficult-to-recycle materials in their production processes.
De Cecco is Italy’s second most popular pasta brand that is sold in 87% of the nation’s supermarkets. Originally founded in 1886 by the De Cecco family in Fara San Martino, Abruzzo, the company started its journey making flour in a traditional stone mill before expanding its operations to make dried pasta.
The company produces a broad range of pasta in all shapes and sizes including organic labels and gluten-free options for people with sensitive diets. De Cecco has launched numerous initiatives to improve the company’s sustainability including an ongoing transition to renewable energy in its pasta-making operations.
This popular Neapolitan pasta company has been producing delicious pasta since 1879. Offering a huge selection of pasta including spaghetti, fusilli, penne and much more, Voiello is a trusted nationwide household name. The Voiello brand is headquartered in Torre Annunziata although it operates under the umbrella of the Barilla Group as one of its luxury pasta brands.
Sold in 77% of Italy’s supermarkets, Voiello’s premium range of pasta brings the finest of pasta-making to the homes of millions of Italians each year. If you visit the Voiello official website you can also discover a lovely selection of pasta recipes that are inspired by the very best of Neapolitan culinary heritage.
Established in 1789 in Gragnano, near Naples, Garofalo specializes in producing top-quality dry pasta that is sold in stores all over the country. Garofalo is stocked in 70% of Italy’s supermarkets and has a number of ranges including durum wheat semolina pasta, organic wholemeal pasta and gluten-free pasta. The company makes pasta in all shapes and Garofalo even has a fun children’s range of pasta that is made in playful shapes to enchant the younger diner.
Founded in 1912, La Molisana is based in Molise and is sold in 61% of Italian supermarkets. The company uses the finest durum wheat semolina in its manufacturing process and produces pasta in every shape and size including spaghetti, bucatini, fettuccine and more.
La Molisana produces pasta using the company’s classic recipe as well as organic pasta, gluten-free pasta and a special range that includes gourmet lasagna sheets, snail-shaped lumaconi and conchiglie pasta.
First opening its doors in 1846, Rummo is best known for its slow-drying pasta-making process. This allows the slow-dried pasta to maintain its texture and shape after it’s been cooked. Rummo is available in 52% of Italian supermarkets and is made in a wide range of shapes as well as durum wheat semolina pasta, organic pasta and gluten-free options.
Rummo has a very good reputation with the general public as was shown in 2015 when its main factory was devastated by serious flooding in the Sannio area. A huge outpouring of support quickly followed on social media, including many Italian celebrities. This ultimately led to the court of Benevento making arrangements with Rummo’s creditors to defer their debt repayment period by an extra 10 years. As a result, Rummo was able to relaunch its operations in 2018, much to the relief of Italians and pasta lovers everywhere.
Divella is a family-run pasta maker that was founded in Rutigliano in 1890. Passed down through the generations, the company is fully committed to using the very best ingredients and traditional methods in all the pasta that they produce. Divella makes pasta in all your favorite shapes including spaghetti, fusilli and penne among others.
There are also organic and gluten-free pastas in their range and in an effort to be more sustainable the company is transferring to renewable energy sources to power their factories. Divella pasta is sold in 28% of Italian supermarkets and in more than 100 countries around the world.
The Most Popular Types Of Italian Pasta.
As your Italian cooking skills improve, you’ll quickly learn the benefits of pairing the right type of pasta with the correct ingredients and sauces.
Spaghetti – As one of the world’s most iconic types of pasta, spaghetti is a long noodle-shaped pasta that is extremely versatile and is often served with a meat sauce, such as Bolognese, or with a simple tomato-based sauce. While spaghetti originated in Italy, today it is eaten all over the globe.
Penne – This is a tube-shaped pasta that has a diagonal cut at each end. Penne pairs well with a wide range of ingredients including seafood, tomato-based sauces, salads and baked dishes. The name Penne is derived from the word ‘penna’ which means ‘quill’ and refers to the fact that the ends of penne pasta look like the tip of an old-fashioned writing quill.
Fettuccine – Long, flat noodles that are much wider than spaghetti, fettuccine is one of Italy’s most frequently used types of pasta. Usually served with a creamy sauce, such as Alfredo sauce, it is also used in soups and with lighter, summer-season sauces in the warmer months.
Linguine – Similar to fettuccine, linguine is also a long and thin noodle-style pasta that is wide and flat in shape. Often served with tomato-based sauces or seafood, the shape of noodles makes it ideal for serving with rich, chunky sauces.
Rigatoni – Another tube-shaped pasta, rigatoni has a distinctively ridged surface that means it naturally holds onto sauces. The ridges on the surface of the tubes also ensure that the pasta cooks more evenly which makes it a popular choice for baked pasta dishes as well as pairing it with thick, meat sauces such as Bolognese.
Farfalle – This bow-tie or butterfly-shaped pasta looks fantastic in a dish and is usually used with light, cream-based sauces or in cold pasta salads.
Rotini – Rotini is a spiral-shaped pasta that adds a lovely texture to a dish. The spiral shape also means that the pasta holds onto sauces in a dish but it’s also used in casseroles and pasta salads.
Difference Between Dried And Fresh Pasta.
There are two main types of pasta that you can use in your home cooking – dry pasta and fresh pasta. Dry pasta is made by mixing durum wheat flour with water and then shaped using a specially designed machine. The pasta is then dried before being packaged for sale.
Fresh pasta is handmade by mixing flour and eggs before kneading and rolling the dough to achieve the right thickness. The freshly made pasta is then cut into the right shapes before being cooked immediately.
While fresh, homemade pasta certainly tastes delicious, it’s time-consuming to make and can end up costing a lot more per dish. Dry pasta, on the other hand, is super convenient, stores well in your cupboard and is extremely affordable. As a result, many Italians make fresh pasta for special occasions but tend to primarily rely on dry, packaged pasta for their day-to-day cooking.
Italian Pasta – A National Treasure.
Italian pasta is famous all over the world for its quality, taste and superior texture after cooking. Italy’s leading pasta makers are head and shoulders above the international competition and consequently, they supply grateful customers in Italy and beyond.