Rustichella pasta is produced in Abruzzo - home to the most famous Italian pasta.
The pasta is produced from old and expert artisan traditions, and it is these centuries of tradition that set them apart from other pasta that is available. This is a taste experience for those who eat the commercially produced dried pasta available in NZ. As testament to it's superior quality, Rustichella pasta is used by famous chef's in restaurants around the world.
The difference? Taste, texture and yield.
Rustichella pasta is made very slowly over a period of 50 - 70 hours. The best hard durum wheat is stone ground and mixed with pure mountain water to produce a dough which is mixed and kneaded for twice as long as it would be for commercial pasta (which is mixed, kneaded, quickly forced through a teflon die and drying machine, and is bagged and ready for shipping in 2 - 3 hours). This longer process improves the flavour.
The dough is then forced slowly through a bronze die and hung to dry in a properly humidified drying room. Extrusion through the bronze dies means that Rustichella pasta has a rougher texture, and tends to 'grab' a sauce when cooked which flavours it, rather than sitting in a puddle on the bottom of the plate.
Not only are the taste and texture different, but because of the slow extrusion process the pasta is quite compressed, which gives it a very high 'swell rate' - 25% as opposed to 12% for normal dried pasta. To the person in charge of the pot, this means that it goes a lot further than you think it will. A kilo will feed 10 - 12 people. It also means that it needs to be cooked in plenty of boiling water - 1 litre per 100g. Its structure means it not only cooks to 'al dente', but will hold and reheat 'al dente' as well.
Cook Rustichella pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water ( one litre per 100 grams) for 8 - 12 minutes, depending on the shape. If you wish you can easily cook it ahead - just drain, spread out in a sink to cool (do not run cold water over it) and run a little extra virgin olive oil through it. Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days - reheat in either the microwave or toss into boiling water for about a minute.
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