Among many of my friends, homemade pasta is all the rage. It has been for quite some time. I received yet another pasta maker for Christmas this year and between talk of cutting gnocchi and achieving the thinnest possible lasagne noodles, I'm plum pasta'd out. Luckily, there are so many great super-market brand pastas to get excited about. Growing up, my mom always bought the blue box of Barilla (and still does, in fact). And so that's what I was naturally attracted to all through college and most of my twenties. My mom eventually started buying De Cecco pasta while I've fallen in love with Garofalo spaghetti for its almost lustrous flavor.
In the most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated (February 2012), writer Amy Garvis reports that "Last year, Americans spent $1.5 billion on these strands, using them as a quick base for everything from hearty ragu, to grassy pesto, to plain old butter and cheese." So why buy it rather than make it? Well the first and most obvious answer is time. And the second answer would be money: buying packaged pasta at the store is generally far cheaper than making it homemade (this depends on what kind of pasta you're buying, obviously).
What factors do you consider when buying pasta? Flavor? Texture? How well it cooks? We'd love to hear about what brands you're drawn to and why.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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