How pasta is made? – Probably not the most typical question you would ask when you think of all the gastronomical pleasures that Italy has given to the world like the good Italian coffee, wine and tasty cheese.
Italy is the home of pasta as we know it. The love affair of this delicious cuisine runs deeply into the veins of our Italians friends.
If you don’t want to offend your Italian friends, take your pasta cooking very seriously.
Pasta is one of the “easy go-to food” that you can rely on to fill you up and satisfy your taste buds.
Pasta has become truly a favourite dish around the world. It comes in various shapes, sizes and flavours. Let me share with you some first-hand experience about my trip to the region of Abruzzo, Italy. A small Abruzzo town called Fara San Martino is known as “The home of the Pasta” for a very good reason.
Abruzzo is the home of the two main world-known manufacturers of pasta – the De Cecco and Delverde. We had an opportunity to visit the Delverde Pasta factory and witness how the magic of pasta making is done from the very start of preparing the ingredients up to packing and delivery to the shops.
Delverde Pasta Factory
Address: Via Filippo de Cecco, 50A, 66015 Fara San Martino CH, Italy (Google Map)
So, read on and let’s start from the beginning and history of pasta.
Brief History of Pasta
It was known that the great explorer Marco Polo who introduced pasta to Italy from his travels to China in the 13th century.
However, there are some pieces of evidence from various historical finds from around the 4th century, that the Greek and Mediterranean civilizations already love and use pasta as part of the staple diet of this region.
In the 19th century, the way society consume pasta evolve from just eating the noodles on its own to mixing it up with tomato sauce (which is known as Ragu), cheese and different types of meat. The most popular ones are the macaroni and cheese, lasagne and the bolognese.
The drying technique of pasta as opened up doors to export the culinary goods all over the world most especially to the USA.
What is Pasta made of?
Pasta is primarily made of durum wheat flour (semolina) and water. In some varieties, the manufacturer will add eggs and other organic ingredients. Due to the trend on how people eat, there are some kinds of pasta that even has spinach content within its noodles itself.
What are the different types of pasta?
There are two main types of pasta that are widely used today – Fresh Pasta and Dried Pasta.
- Fresh Pasta
True to its name, it is freshly made pasta from durum semolina and eggs. They typically have a shorter shelf life and would be preferred to be consumed immediately. The fresh pasta has a more distinctive flavour and taste. It does not expand and has a shorter cooking time.
- Dried Pasta
As it says on the tin, the dried pasta is the one you can typically find in the shop as it is more commercially manufactured to have a longer shelf life. This is typically the exported goods from Italy. It has the same ingredients as all regular fresh pasta, but it has gone to have an extra drying process in large drying machine in various stages of its creation. The dried pasta typically expands and has a longer cooking time compared to the fresh ones.
What are the varieties of pasta?
These varieties come in different sizes, shapes and forms
The Long Pasta
- Big Vermicelli
- Mezza Zita
- Fettuccelle Ovali
- Mezza Lasagna Doppia Riccia
- Lasagna Doppia Riccia
- Mezzi Rigatoni
- Cannaroni Rigati
- Gnocchetti Rigati
- Bis Millerighi
- Bis Festonati
- Mezzi Tufoli
- Bis Cardinali
- Cannaroni Lisci
- Bis Militare
- Bis Penne a Zita
- Pennoni Rigati
- Penne Rigati
- Cornetti Rigatti
- Lumaconi Rigati
- Pipe Rigate
- Orecchiette Baresi
- Lumache Medie
- Bis Lumachine
- Conchiglie Rigate
- Bis Cavatelli
- Conchigliete Piccole
- Gnocchetti Zita Lunghi
- Gnocchetti Zita Lunghi Rigati
- Gnocchetti Zita
- Gnocchetti Zita Rigati
- Tubetti Lungi
- Mezzi Tubetti
- Tubetti Lunghi Rigati
- Tubetti Rigati
- Bis Coralli Lunghi
- Occhi di Pernice
- Acini di Pepe
- Bis Pepe Bucato
- Seme di Peperone
- Seme di Melone
Nest, organic and special grain pasta
- Capallini d’angelo
- Capellini d’angelo all’uovo
- Tagliolini all’uovo
- Fettuccine all’uovo
- Tagliatelline all’uovo
- Tagliatelle all’uovo
- Nastri all’uovo
- Pappardelle all’uovo
- Stelline all’uovo
- Quadratini all’uovo
- Tripolini all’uovo
- Grattini all’uovo
- Tagliatelle all’uovo con pomodoro
- Tagliatelle all’uovo con spinaci
- Tagliatelle con spinaci
- Whole wheat Tagliatelle
- Whole wheat Gnocchetti Rigati
- Whole wheat Conchiglie Rigate
- Lasagna all’uovo
- Lasagna con spinaci
- Spaghetti alla chitarra
- Whole wheat Spaghetti
- Spaghetti con spinaci
- Linguine con spinaci
- Spirale con spinaci
- Penne con spinaci
- Canestrini con spinaci
- Occhi di Pernice con spinaci
Well, that is one long list of different types of pasta that we’ve seen so far in the factory in Abruzzo. You can see more of other different types of pasta here.
How pasta is made in a factory?
During our visit to the Delverde Pasta factory in Abruzzo, we had the pleasure to see the process of how pasta is made.
Delverde started making their high-quality pasta since 1967. They are proudly using the spring water coming from the Verde River located just at the foot of the Majella National Park where the factory is also located.
On the start of our Pasta Factory visit, we initially have our health and safety briefing and wear our protective clothing to prevent cross-contamination.
They are proudly using only the high-quality type of durum wheat to guarantee the freshness and flavours of their pasta together with the spring water of Verde River. They typically make the pasta according to their varieties in bulk for efficiency and consistency of their workflow. The ratio of ingredients varies depending on which country does the pasta will go to as an imported product. This is to abide by the food rules and policies imposed by the country.
The large mixer in the factory is where the magic happens in blending all the pasta ingredients. After it’s all nicely mixed and it will then pass through the big metal wheel of pasta cutter that will give the exact shape and sizes of each variety of pasta that they are making for that batch.
The pasta will now then be put through a slow drying process to ensure its quality. The factory has massive drying machines that vary in different degrees and its pasta contents. To ensure that the pasta will dry perfectly and will pass the quality control, it can actually take up to a few days of drying process before it reaches the packaging stage.
Once the pasta is fully dry and ready for packing, it will then head towards onto another machine that will precisely package the pasta into its commercial packing depending on which country it will go to.
This is to ensure that the pasta products comply with different food rules and regulations of the country and their required nutritional declaration. After the packaging, will then go thru another set of quality check to ensure that there is no metal or other foreign material went inside the pasta packets. One of this quality process is the packed pasta will go thru an industrial size magnetic machine!
Once that is all sorted, this is the only time a human will handle the final product, sorting out the boxes of packed pasta ready for delivery for the local and international markets.
This Pasta factory visit in Abruzzo truly fascinates me as I will never look at my pasta the same way again! In a good sense!
The amount of precision, cultural heritage, and hard work on how meticulous the process is just outstanding!
For a pasta lover like me, that is just pure bliss to know!