Which is the secret of a good pasta? What really characterizes the production of a good pasta? These were the questions we asked ourselves when we decided to produce pasta from the wheat grown here in at our farm in Tuscany, a few kilometers from Pienza. Well, we found the answers and today our pasta is one of the excellence of our production. Here you can find our secrets and if you do not believe us, then please try our organic pasta.
THE BEST DURUM WHEAT: SENATORE CAPPELLI VARIETY
Durum wheat pasta, to be called so has to be produced with 100% semolina durum wheat. which means that the first secret of a good pasta is the wheat itself. Here at Podere Il Casale, to produce our organic pasta we grow wheat and spelt in our fields in Val d’Orcia. In order to produce a high quality pasta we decided to grow a high-quality variety of durum wheat called Senator Cappelli. Senatore Cappelli is a fine ancient wheat variety from the early ‘900 which has never undergone mutations following the modern genetic manipulation.
Senatore Cappelli durum wheat is appreciated in particular for its rustic characterics, its bright yellow colour and its high protein value, which is around 16%. Pasta and bread made with this durum wheat have a unique and unmistakable taste and aromas, which have kept unalterated over the time. The flour obtained from Senatore Cappelli durum wheat is rich in nutritional values such as lipids, vitamins and minerals and that’s the reason why some nutritional experts confer to it a high digestibility. Senatore Cappelli, like other ancient wheats, is among the few wheat varieties genetically akin our DNA. Senatore Cappelli has a rather tall spike which in conventional agriculture with chemical fertilizers tends to fall. On the contrary, in organic farming is very competitive against weeds, exactly because of its height. Thanks to its quality and the high protein value, Senatore Cappelli is excellent for a the production of high quality pasta that hardly overcook and will keep its distinctive flavour.
THE GRINDING OF WHEAT : GRINDSTONE
The second secret for an excellent pasta is how you process of your wheat. You can have a great organic durum wheat but you have to be real careful to how you turn it into “semola”. That’s why at Podere Il Casale we have carefully chosen Molino Silvestri, a small family business in Torgiano near Perugia, to be the mill where we grind our precious organic durum wheat. They convinced us thanks to their great passion and to the extreme care they put in what they do production. Our wheat is stone grounded and so it to preserves the precious wheat germ. In this way we get a “semola” with better nutritional properties but above all a pasta slightly darker than the usual and much more tasty.
BRONZE DRAWING AND LOW TEMPERATURES DRYING
Not everyone knows that before industrialization all the pasta types were smooth. Then some big companies started to use dies made in teflon in order to speed up the production and avoid any defects due to the poor quality of the wheat used. For these reasons and because of the fast drying at high temperatures, pasta has become so thick and smooth that the sauce wouldn’t stick. That’s why now we have striped pasta types. At Podere Il Casale we guarantee a very high quality products. Our durum wheat pasta is produced only with bronze drawing and it’s slowly dried at low temperatures. Only in this way we get a rough, porous pasta which holds any sauces perfectly. That’s why we chose Antico Pastificio Rosetano Verrigni, one of the best artisanalpasta factory in Italy, to make our pasta.
THE SECRET OF A GOOD PASTA
So let’s recap: in order to produce a good pasta you have to start from a quality wheat, preferably an ancient variety of wheat such as Senatore Cappelli, even better if organic. This is the starting point for a pasta with excellent nutritional properties, balanced and with great organoleptic characteristics.
The wheat must be stone grinded to obtain a whole durum wheat semolina with its precious wheat germ. This helps to preserve the enzymatic activity and to have a high digestible and nutritious pasta.
Pasta must be produced with bronze drawing and slowly dried at low temperatures. This allows to have a rough pasta that holds the sauce better.