Bye-Bye, Barilla, Hello...?


Catelli from Canada.
I've been a DeCecco fan for years. Good taste, good texture. A bit expensive? That's quality for you.
What do gay people eat?
Gee, normally you guys are so cutting edge......but where have you been? DeCecco is always the "go to" pasta.
gotta say, I really like the Albertsons store brand.
“I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone. In the interview I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family."

Store brand. There are dishes that call for fresh pasta, or at least for refrigerated pasta - but for a simple dish made cheaply with boxed pasta, store brand should be fine.
Bertolli seems to have a position on the matter:…
i'm shocked shocked that all the hipsterfoodies here don't accept this righteous opportunity to make their own. (it's pretty easy... as even i have accomplished it) (don't even need the fancy pasta maker attachment/organ-grinder)
Store brand. There is no difference for basic long pasta shapes -- spaghetti, linguine. They are all the same. Cook's might be able to tell the difference in a lab, but in the real world the difference between two plates of pasta is 99% cook, 1% pasta (as with most kinds of cooking). The water probably makes more difference than the pasta (and pasta water is one restaurant feature, like wok cooking, that is impossible to duplicate at home).
I'd be willing to bet that a great many CEO's are homophobic to some degree and misogynistic to some degree. Might as well by the brand you want, ignore the boycott-this, boycott-that hype, as most company boycotts are inherently symbolic, abstract, and never get the popular groundswell to be effective.
Golden Grain pasta originated in the San Francisco area. It doesn't get much gayer than that.
Here's a homo that eats a lot of pasta. I stopped caring about how I look years ago, and since something is going to kill me eventually, it might as well be carbs.

But I've always bought the cheap stuff (Western Family Brand!). And I will continue to do so. This Barilla person is just tacky.
Get thee to PFI (Pacific Food Importers) in SODO. They have a lot of Italian brands, and you can buy in bulk, so it's cheap.
A pity this didn't blow up before summer ended. We could have thrown down a couple of green box Coleman stoves in a park and had an al fresco Slog Happy blind tasting of DeCecco vs. Western Family spaghetti.

@15, if Mrs. Fnarf cooks the Western Family stuff, it will win in a landslide.
From the Cook's Illustrated review:

"Our tests proved that once pasta is topped with sauce, flavor differences from brand to brand are very subtle. But texture is a whole different story."

Also, their favorite spaghetti from the taste test was De Cecco Spaghetti No. 12.

"This Italian import boasted “clean wheat flavor” and a “firm, ropy quality”; in fact, the lab confirmed these strands as the strongest of all the samples, with the lowest percentage of “cook loss.” The texture was just as good when we added sauce—“firm,” with “good chew.”

Completely untrue. The protein content of the wheat used, the amount of kneading that went into developing gluten, and the temperature at which it dried all contribute to the texture of the finished pasta. Sure if you overcook it to mush they'll all be the same, but you wouldn't do that would you?

Then there is the finish of the pasta. Some are extruded through Teflon coated stainless steel plates. Some through traditional bronze dies. In either case the amount of wear and tear on the die makes a difference. An old die will compact the dough less as it pushes through leaving a weaker starch structure and different texture. The bronze dies also tend to make a rougher pasta that has a different mouth feel and will allow certain sauces to cling better.

Then there is flavor. Different flour types and how they are milled do effect flavor. But more important is drying temperature. Some of the brands dry their pasta with ultra high heat in a very fast process. This will actually pre-cook a lot of the starch and give it a more nutty flavor. In a heavy sauce you might not notice, but in a lighter sauce you will.

Barilla in general has always been the best of the low end pasta. De Cecco is better (and won the Cook's Illustrated test), but is usually more expensive. Not enough to be a big deal though. If you're going to splurge though, Rustichella D’Abruzzo is absolutely the best I've found.
As someone with two different KitchenAid extruder attachments which can, combined, make ten different shapes of pasta, I usually have homemade. But DeCecco's Fusilli Corti Bucati is a marvel: a helix of hollow spaghetti. I tried it last week and just returned from the store with more.
I also would prefer always to make my own pasta. It's really not too hard, particularly if you have a food processor. Eggs, spinach, semolina flour, and you're in business.
@18, texture is a function of how long it is boiled, and in what, as anything.

@19, see @18. No taste difference. Texture is a function of cooking. As for all that brass extrusion and stuff, I'm talking about common store brands and basic long pasta shapes. A good cook who knows what he or she is doing can in fact make indistinguishable plates with any of the common brands, none of which are particularly rougher than the other. As I said elsewhere, they're all made in the same goddamn conditions anyways; cheap dried pasta is not an artisanal product, but an industrial one. You can't tell the difference in the real world. No one can. It's pseudoscience.
As usual Fnarf is mansplaining about shit he doesn't know shit about. Give it rest, fuckface. Your opinions aren't nearly as indispensible as you obviously think they are.
As Nancy said, just go to PFI to get a variety of Italian pastas.

I've always preferred DeCecco over Barilla, so no love lost here.
Sadly, the video and the list below it are for different things. Video = spaghetti taste test. Winner = De Cecco.…
@ 22, it's apparent that you've never done your own in-home taste test. Just boil some pasta and taste it plain. Use whatever secret Mrs. Fnarf employs. Once you've done that, you'll notice the differences and you can tell when you eat it with sauce later. Go on, do it and then say there is no difference.
De Cecco if you don't have the time to make it. But really, it's easy, and 98% cheaper than De Cecco.

You're wrong. They aren't all produced in the same ways. The wear on the tear of the die is one big difference. Cheaper brands are going to replace the die less often.

The drying time and temperature is also different. Barilla dries their pasta at 190F. De Cecco does 158F over 18 hours. Rustichella D’Abruzzo dries theirs at 95F. If you don't believe that subjecting pasta too different amounts of heat for different times makes a difference you are a moron.

Now I don't always agree with Cook's Illustrated taste tests. They often use pallets that aren't that sophisticated and prefer middle of the road flavors. But they are double blind. And they clearly find a difference between pasta brands.
@22, Aren't you the same guy who said that store-bought tomatoes are better than 99% of what people grow in their home gardens? That's a WIS-level dumb statement there. Why should we trust your take on dried pasta?
Oh, yes, there's a difference. In taste. In texture. How they hold sauce. I have thrown out brands after I tried them, they were so bad.
Have you seen Garofalo's (the pasta, not the comedian) brilliant response to Barilla?
Gee, now I'm disappointed in Fnarf too! Why are all my heroes at the Stranger so pasta-impaired......?
@26, but I don't eat my pasta plain, so why would I test it that way? Makes no sense. That's like trying on shoes by putting them on your hands.

I'll throw it back to you: run your taste test, have someone else cook not for the same length of time but to the same texture, sauce identically, and you MIGHT be able to detect differences, if you are lucky, but you will not be able to identify which is De Cecco, or even consistently which is better.

@28, Rustichella D'Abruzzo is not a common supermarket brand. You're comparing two different types of things. And the difference, for basic spaghetti, is not significant. It is not an artisanal product, it is an industrial one. And the preparation is more important than the ingredients.

Being suspicious of "sophisticated palates" (not pallets) doesn't make me an idiot, just someone who knows what goes on in an industrial food supply chain. Sophisticated ANYTHING is 99% bullshit, anyways. You can't tell good vodka from bad, either, most of the time.
Ugh. There goes Fnarf, bloviating again. I'm really starting to prefer Will in Seattle. He saves people!
@sargon bighorn

Making dried pasta at home is kind of hard. You need extruders and some sort of dehydrator to dry it. Now you can use fresh pasta for everything, but certain dishes call for dry pasta for a reason. They're designed that way. Plus, certain dishes require certain shapes.
DeCecco gets the vote of my Sicilian-American friend, who has cooked in several high-end Italian restaurants and says it's what they mostly used.

Besides DeCecco, Cook's Illustrated also recommended:

Rustichella D’Abruzzo Pasta Abruzzese di Semola di Grano Duro

So you have lots of good options besides the assholes.

If you do a test where you cook the pasta for the same amount of time I guarantee you will find differences. Mainly because they won't all cook in the same amount of time. To cook pasta you have to hydrate and brink it up to the proper temperature. Hydration is dependent on the shape, the thickness, the starch structure, and the relative moisture level before you started. It also happens faster at higher temperatures. You can start pasta in cold water bring it to a boil and cook it until it's done and it will work just as well as dumping your pasta into boiling water. As long as your water remains above 180F, the starches will set correctly; they just will set in a different amount of time based on the temp.

So how do we know how to cook pasta? It's easy, we read the fucking package. The different brands will have different cook times. But they all basically say to dump the pasta into boiling water and let it cook for x minutes. That's because they know how hot boiling water is (212F) and they know how long it will take for the pasta to hydrate and the starches to cook at that temp. With the other methods, the power of you cooktop, the temp you start that water at, and a myriad of other factors can influence the outcome. But if you follow the directions, you'll get what the manufacturer intended. But not all pasta's have the same cooking time. So obviously there are differences.

Rustichella D'Abruzzo is available at QFC. If it's available at QFC it's common enough to recommend.

Just because a product is industrial doesn't mean there aren't difference in the brands. Carrageenan for example is one of the most industrial food products I can buy. And there are definitely measurable difference in them. Mainly because the ratio of Kappa to Iota is different between brands. Another example is gelatin. There's no artisanal gelatin, but depending on the kind of collagen you use to make it; you'll get a different bloom strength and a different product. Pasta is no different.
@31 Whoa, that is great!
In his closing 'One More Thing' segment for "The Five" on just now, Fox News contributor Bob Beckell called the CEO of Barilla a "homophobic son-of-a-bitch" and there was a moment of stunned silence on the set. Way to go Bob!
@ 34, duh. You'd taste it plain so you can easily tell the difference between brands without masking flavors. Which ones are chewy and pasty? Which ones are nutty and have a nice clean bite?

Since dried pasta is always intended to be boiled, I assume that "cooking for texture" means aiming for a certain doneness - al dente being the supposed ideal, although that's overdone for pasta that will be baked (lasagne, manicotti, etc). If you're doing something else, you should be specific.
I believe I can tell the difference between the cheap-end dried pastas—Trader Joe's is better than store brand, Barilla is better than Trader Joe's, DeCecco angel hair is better than Barilla angel hair... That's interesting about the drying times and temperatures. Rustichella D’Abruzzo is that one in the brown craft-paper packaging, and it's definitely a cut above, but also significantly more expensive, like four-fold if memory serves.

Making your own is great but obviously more time-consuming by an order of magnitude, whether you have a food processor or not. Also, @36 makes a good point—you don't always want fresh pasta. (I mean, I do, and I would eat it all the time if I could, but not all sauces and preparations are meant for it.)

I put tons of salt in my pasta water, like a big handful of it. So much that if anyone's around, I try to be sneaky about it, but that's what chefs I've talked to have recommended, and it makes a difference.
I used to buy either Barilla's or De Cecco, but gave up on Barilla when I consistently wound up with little black bugs in the boiling water. They didn't come from my pantry, they came from the Barilla package. Now it's either home-made of DeCecco for me.
I can't taste the difference between any of them once I put sauce on it. I buy whatever is cheapest on sale. Except Barilla now. What an asswipe.
Gays can eat pasta. They can eat whatever the hell they want. Who made Christopher Frizzelle the king of the gays? I didn't vote for him.
garofalo pasta, most of my Italian friends swear by it. In the US the only place I have seen it is Costco.
Wot? Nothing from Raku the Dipshit Vegan?! Whose taste is so sensitive (s)he thinks egged cakes taste like omelets and anything made with chicken broth tastes "like boiled corpse"?! I mean, man, if you're wanting taste comparisons, Raku's your go-to. (And pasta's generally vegan, even. Though I wouldn't be surprised if [s]he has coeiliac issues as well.)

(Or that, as I've noted before, Raku's a pisstake invented by someone who's annoyed by vegans...)

As for me, Fred Meyer's house brand does quite nicely.
@48: Reported as abusive. Pick on someone who is actually in this thread.
@49: "Reported as abusive". Now that's comedy, around here.

Yeah, I couldn't resist. As you may have inferred, or as you may have noticed from past reading, Raku is a long-term annoyance who presents as the worst possible stereotype of a veggie. As I said, whether that's real or a semi-sophisticated attempt at trolling, I dunno...but it bugs me. Deal.
@50: I have not inferred that at all. Nor have I seen abusive posts from that user, unlike yourself.

I'm not going to argue with you. You are being abusive and you are defaming another person without that person being able to respond. This is cowardly and disgusting and you are a total asshole for doing it. Oh, and I didn't even mention the transphobic* "[s]he" shit that you also posted. You really need to fuck off.

* Note: I don't know if this user is transgender or not, but the ambiguity that you assign to the gender of that user is bigoted since the user comes across as female. Who the fuck are you to question that? Don't answer. Just fuck off.
@51: Climb down. I frankly have no idea whether Raku is male or female, hence the parens. (And I _love_ the immediate jump to accusations of transphobia, kiddo. As with the prior case, if I were going to invent a piteously hair-triggered twit, your response would do well as an example of the genus. Don't answer, just fuck off, as someone recently said.)
Is it worth noting the ginormous Festa Italiana at Seattle Center this weekend - replete with Italian cars, Italians dogs, Italian celeb chefs, cooking demo's, and "the Italian Martha Stewart" Maria Liberati?
@10--there is no great mystery to pasta water. or rather, if there is, it is that you ignore that bit on the box of pasta that tells you to put a pinch of salt in the water. First of all, you need a lot of water. for a pound of pasta, you want at least 10 quarts of water. And when that water comes to a boil, you salt the shit out of it. Not a dash. Not a tablespoon. Think in terms of handsful. The first rule of pasta club is that the water needs to be as salty as the sea. Taste it, and add more salt if it isn't. Don't add the pasta until the water tastes like you're drinking the Mediterranean Sea.
@52: Now you have resorted to lies. Everybody on Slog considers that user a woman and she has identified as such. So you are basically trying to say either 1) this user is a man fake-posting as a woman, or 2) this user is transgender and you would like that known. Apparently you feel that God has put you on a sacred mission to 'out' anybody who is lying about their gender identity (or transgender identification) on Internet message boards. And if you can't 'out' them directly, you will do your damned best to defame them with ambiguity. And just in case that user could correct you directly, you have resorted to defaming her on a thread that she hasn't participated in. You are a piece of shit.

But feel free to keep attacking me. Call me a twit or whatever. But I don't think you will enjoy it as much because I can actually fight back. Maybe you might just want to attack me on some threads that I haven't participated in. Wouldn't that be more of your style? Look! I haven't participated in the wolf thread. Go insult me there, you coward!
@55: Calm down. I don't think anyone took the (s)he thing as anything remotely transphobic. That is a pretty standard way of using the third-person singular pronoun when one doesn't know the gender of the person being referred to. Whether you have an issue with the other poster's referencing a commenter not on this thread, suggesting there was anything transphobic about that post is a little out there.
Weird 24 hours here. Will finally commits an act of common decency, Fnarf gets flak over dried noodles...what's next?
@56: You are probably right. DonServo probably uses that phrasing all the time. Let me check:…

Nope. It turns out that this is the only time and it was used in a vicious post to attack another poster. I'd give the benefit of the doubt if it wasn't used in a post that was meant as an attack. And I might still give the benefit of the doubt if the other person was a participant in the thread. And I might even still give the benefit of the doubt if the poster had a history of using this term. But as such, in light of the aggression and hostility of DonServo towards the other user, I think the ambiguity was intentionally used to defame.
@58: I honestly have no dog in this fight, and don't really pay attention to the minutiae of pronoun usage on comment threads, but I'm actually quite surprised by how much umbrage you are taking to that post. It wasn't vicious. It was merely mocking someone who, granted, is not on this thread, but does say a lot of outrageously ludicrous things, like those pointed out above. I honestly would never have known that there was any kind of rule about not mentioning frequent posters who are not in a given thread. It seems like people start a lot of comment threads by invoking something joking or even derisive anticipating what Fnarf or Will in Seattle would say. I really don't understand why this is any different, or if that is a new rule that's developed and since I rarely participate in commenting on threads.

Also, for the record, I don't generally pay enough attention to the details of perfect strangers' posts to remember things like gender. I'm usually just responding to the comments at hand.
I remember a time back in the '80s when whenever you would go to someone's house for dinner you would encounter homemade pasta drying over dowels rigged up on the dining room chairs. The pasta was always delicious. Now you see lots of pasta makers on sale cheap at Goodwill, and hardly ever (may I say never?) the dowels-on-chairs at dinner parties. Plus ca change...
Er, uh, and don't rinse the pasta, right?

I used to rinse it all the time, but found out a few years ago that you're not supposed to. I don't recall who told me or where I read it, but that's right, isn't it?
@ 61, if the pasta is going into the oven, then you should rinse it in cold water to stop it from cooking, or else it will end up overdone. Aside from that, I don't know why anyone would rinse it. As long as your spaghetti or linguini was at least al dente when you dumped it into your colander, it won't reach the overcooked point if left unrinsed.
I'm sticking with Barilla. The boycott already made its point. Hey, and how bout that Delirian (49,51,55 & 58). S/he is one to call the kettle black, huh.

* Note. Delirian, I'm using s/he because I don't remotely care to try to discern from your post whether you are a man or woman, your level of wacked out arrogant name calling is all I need to know about you. Now shut up and don't answer. I need not read anymore of your trite, likely meth, coke or speed induced drivel.
@ 61, a couple of links on whether to rinse pasta or not:

I like the response from "Karl S," because it's probably that secret of Italian restaurants which Fnarf claims cannot be duplicated at home. (You can't duplicate wok cooking at home because home stoves can't heat a wok properly, but the idea that Italian cooking requires specialized equipment not available to home cooks is absurd.)

This one is interesting:…

While it's absolutely right about rinsing pasta for cold salads (something I never make, but makes sense when I think about it), it also instruct cook not to rinse pasta for cooked dishes.

Come to think of it, I don't rinse lasagne or manicotti noodles when making that dish, but then again I only boil them for about five minutes, when they're still rather stiff. The dish I always rinse without fail is baked mac and cheese. But I may try cooking for a shorter period next time I make that, without rinsing, and see if that makes a difference. I had assumed that the macaroni needed to be softer in order to allow the sauce to mix inside each noodle, but that doesn't actually make sense when I think about it.
Barilla makes these fantastic no-boil lasagna noodles that are thin and light and very very nearly taste like fresh noodles. Also, using fresh lasagna noodles adds a full day to lasagna prep time, so, sadly, I won't be eating any lasagna until some other, non-bigoted company makes decent prepackaged noodles. WHICH SUCKS.
@65--They sell fresh lasagna sheets at Pasta and Co
@66: HEYYY! Great idea. Thanks!
Sauce doesn't stick to rinsed pasta as well as it does to unrinsed pasta. Hence the advice to leave it alone after draining it.

Some Barilla-owned brands (including pasta) which don't have "Barilla" in the name:

Alixir --- alcoholic beverages,
Crisp'N Light --- biscuits, cookies,
Cucina Mediterranea --- Frozen main dishes,
Fantasie Del Sole --- many food products,
First Fast --- coffee, other food products
Italy's #1 Pasta --- pasta,
Macine --- baking powder, salt,
Mulino Bianco --- baked goods,
Natura Al Dente --- many food products,
NutriPlus --- pasta,
Orizzonti --- coffee, other food products
Pan Di Stelle --- biscuits, cookies,
Pavesi --- Coffee,
Pavesini --- baked goods,
Plus --- sauces,
Restaurant Creations --- pasta sauces,
Ringo --- baking powder, biscuits, cookies,
Ritornelli --- biscuits, cookies,
Share The Table --- baking pans,
The Choice of Italy --- pasta,
Voiello --- coffee, other food products
Volare --- semolina-based snack foods
So business owners aren't allowed to have opinions? Homosexuality is fine. So is not approving of it. If you like the same gender, you're within your rights to do so, there's nothing wrong with that, but you can't expect everyone to simply abandon their beliefs at the drop of a hat. It's this kind of entitled attitude that makes me think that the LBGT (now with a Q apparently) is just a way for attention starved individuals to put themselves in the spotlight. Being gay is okay, being an attention whore isn't.