This summer I was lucky enough to go to Italy with DeLallo Foods, makers of the best Italian foodstuffs on the market, and one of my long-time partners. We explored all around the Amalfi coast, ate the most pasta I’ve ever eaten in my life, and met suppliers, producers, and chefs who all have a hand in making DeLallo a truly incredible company. It was a trip I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and one I am SO excited to share with you!
If you’re like me, then you’ll understand how important and meaningful it is to know where your food comes from. So often we mindlessly buy, cook, and eat our food, without a thought of how that food got to our table. So I want to tell you a little bit about DeLallo and what I learned on my trip, in hopes of fostering a greater connection between ourselves and the food we eat. So let’s get to it 🙂
DeLallo’s story begins in 1950, when George and Madeline DeLallo created an Italian food market outside of Pittsburg, PA. They carried all sorts of Italian specialty items, from cured meats to fresh cheeses. The store was so popular that DeLallo soon became a staple of the Pittsburg community, supplying hotels and restaurants with their imported Italian and Mediterranean noms.
Fast forward to today, and DeLallo is both an importer, producer, and distributor of a wide variety of specialty foods throughout the country. Some of my favorites? Their Creamy Vodka Sauce, Castelvetrano Olives, and Homemade Pizza Dough Kit (I even created an entire pizza party around this kit I love it so much).
But without a doubt my trip with them to Italy centered around DeLallo’s absolutely incredible line of pasta. We saw wheat being milled in a nine-story grain mill, walked through one of their production facilities (called a pastificio), and tasted raw pasta fresh off the production line (it was weirdly delicious), and ate pasta everywhere we went.
One thing I absolutely loved learning about is how depending on the quality of production, the pasta we eat is incredibly varied. For example, pasta is extruded through a press to make it into its various shapes. While pasta has traditionally been extruded through bronze castes, many companies nowadays use plastic extruders in order to cut production costs.
Plastic extrusion creates a pasta that has a thin layer of film around the outside. The result is a slippery noodle that both easily overcooks, and that slides away from any sauce you put on it. All of DeLallo’s pasta, regardless of it being organic or otherwise, it bronze cut, meaning more delicious, stick-to-your-sauce pasta.
The drying process also matters in pasta making. When pasta is dried fast and at higher temperatures (as is common with high-volume pasta production), not only do you lose flavor, but you lose a lot of nutrients in your pasta. Slow drying and at lower temperatures creates a pasta with better taste, texture, and nutrition.
Another thing I found just fascinating is that in Italy, a lot of chefs’ pasta of choice is actually dried pasta, not fresh pasta. From what we learned, it’s because you can’t get the same chew (think that al dente loveliness) with fresh pasta due to its higher water content. And remember that extrusion process I just told you about? Bronze-cut pasta creates a slightly rough surface on your pasta, which means teensy little ridges that literally helps sauce stick onto the noodle. That means a better harmony of pasta and sauce.
Did you know thatin Italy, you don’t just use any pasta noodle you feel like for any recipe you feel like? There are certain noodles for certain recipes. For example, a thinner sauce like pomodoro should only be paired with spaghetti, while a thicker sauce like bolognese needs a heartier noodle like rigatoni to hold up to the sauce.
That is not a thing in the USA– we think of the noodle more as an artistic choice than a meaningful choice for that recipe. I just loved that, and it made me think of pasta entirely differently.
I’ll be circling back to pasta for Friday’s post, which is a tried and tested bolognese recipe that uses DeLallo’s Rigatoni noodle as a base. And I say base, because that’s how pasta should be thought of: as part of the recipe, not just as the thing that goes under the recipe.
Pasta is one of the most versatile and delicious ingredients out there, and this trip was incredible at furthering my understanding of one of the world’s best foods 🙂 You go, DeLallo. You go.
DeLallo invited me to a week in Italy, and I received compensation for my time. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that make Broma possible!