Why are some brands much more expensive?

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These are either silly coloured designer pasta which I believe you can completely ignore as window dressing, or more interestingly ‘pasta artisanale’, literally ‘craft made’. The large pasta companies dry their pasta in enormous ovens at 120°C for about 1 hour, producing a noodle that is in effect partially cooked. Cut a piece of commercial spaghetti and look at the cross section, the inside has a different colour and texture from the outside. The pasta artisanale is dried for up to 12 hours at 60°C producing a uniformity through the noodle. This difference coupled with the fact that small companies tend to buy better flour and use mineral water, simply means the pasta cooks better and has a superior texture, and in many ways texture is what pasta is all about. Good brands of pasta artisanale are Masseria and Latina, the latter just introduced into the English market. Pasta artisanale costs almost twice as much as pasta industrielle but is still a bargain.

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