What are the best Italian pasta brands? You haven’t really eaten pasta unless you’ve tried the original. Take a journey through Italy with these family-owned and artisanal pasta brands that have perfected the method through generations and are focused on quality, taste, and tradition.
The Best Italian Pasta Brands
The Italian town of Gragnano is synonymous with pasta, and even though spaghetti no longer hangs on drying rods on the main streets, the tradition hasn’t waned in the least. When the Zampino family took over the Gentile artisan pasta factory in the ‘80s, they acquired a piece of history dating back to 1876, successfully preserving the artisanal production methods.
Nowadays, the natural drying process of sun and wind is recreated perfectly through the Cirillo Method drying process, which takes around three to four days and imbues the Gentile pasta with that distinct consistency. The more than forty bronze-drawn pasta shapes are made exclusively with semolina from milled-on-site wheat acquired from Puglia.
Inspired by his grandfather, a passionate farmer, Massimo Mancini founded the Mancini Pastificio Agricolo and spent seven years developing a new durum wheat, befittingly called Nonno Mariano. Other durum wheat varieties are carefully selected, grown, harvested, cleaned and stored, abiding meticulously to eco-friendly and sustainable practices.
The pasta production itself is always done with fresh semolina, to obtain a distinct taste and aroma, as well as extrusion with a bronze die, which increases the pasta surface’s porousness and roughness to retain any sauce. If all that didn’t suffice, packaging recyclability and a factory composed of wood, glass, and concrete in the middle of their durum wheat fields rounds off this exceptional family pasta brand.
Another passionate pasta factory in La Città dei Maccheroni (Gragnano), Gerardo Di Nola was founded in 1870 and has found the perfect balance between respecting tradition and using modern techniques. From its slow drying process, to the use of limestone-free water flowing from the Monte Faito streams and Italian hard wheat semolina from carefully selected partners, it’s really the essential details that determine the outstanding taste of their product.
Like its pasta counterparts, Gerardo di Nola also uses bronze pasta dies to create shapes that are just rough enough to embrace any sauce or condiment. If you come upon this brand’s packaging (currently sold in 36 countries), you’ll also be happy to know that each one is hand-folded with tradition and love. Don't miss it as it's one the best pasta brands in Italy!
The last surviving artisan pasta maker in Torre Annunziata, Setaro is located in a more than hundred-year-old building composed of tuff from the famed Mount Vesuvius, which just happens to be perfect for drying pasta. Production is traditional and manual, including the original bronze dies, selected durum wheat semolina, pure water, and a slow drying process from 24 to 120 hours, depending on the shape.
Of course, knowledge of the ‘white art,’ passed down from generation, is also a fundamental quality that has helped the family business grow since its opening in 1939. The varieties seem endless, including classic shapes and unique shapes, soup pasta, oven-baked pasta, whole wheat pasta and pasta with aromas.
The Cavalieri family has been in the pasta business since 1872, so it’s safe to say they have the process down to an art. With a family background in wheat cultivation and milling which goes back even farther into 1800, the first step of the Cavalieri process is always the fine and selected durum wheat from the sunny hills of Puglia and Basilicata.
What follows is a processing method called ‘Delicato,’ including long kneading, slow processing, drawing and drying at low temperatures so that taste is maximized without losing any natural consistency. The result is 45 kinds of pasta, from Capellini d’Angelo to Farfalle, and a line of organic entire wheat pasta as a healthier alternative.
We hope you enjoy reading about the best Italian pasta brands – buon appetito!