11 Best Italian Pasta Brands You Can Buy At The Store In 2023

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Delicious, velvety, comforting, and filling – there are not many families who don’t have a pasta dinner at least once a week!

And when it comes to pasta, the world experts must be the Italians, as Italy is the homeland of this store cupboard staple.

But the huge range of different Italian pasta available in the stores can be quite daunting – how do you know which one you need for your recipe?

So, what are the best Italian pasta brands you can buy at the store? The best Italian pasta brands will contain high-quality ingredients and minimal additives. The shape should be perfect for holding and carrying your sauce, and the consistency when cooked must be ‘al dente’.

Are you looking for the best Italian pasta brand? Read on to find out what makes the best Italian pasta, and find out our picks for the 11 best Italian pasta brands you can buy at the store.

How To Choose The Best Italian Pasta Brands

There is such a wide variety of Italian pasta that sometimes it becomes overwhelming to choose one for a specific purpose.

While some kinds of pasta are perfect for oven bakes or to soak up a delicious sauce, others can be added to soups or even used cold in a salad.

If you are on the hunt for a good Italian pasta you can buy at the store, here is what you should take into consideration.

What Is Pasta?

Pasta is one of the most well-known store cupboard staples, and something that is all too easy to take for granted!

At its most basic, pasta is a mixture of durum wheat flour and either water or egg. These ingredients are blended into a dough which is then rolled out and cut into shapes.

This dough can be cooked when fresh, or more often it is dried out and cooked later. Pasta is usually cooked by immersing it into gently boiling water, although for some dishes such as lasagne the pasta is cooked within the dish or sauce.

When cooked, pasta should be soft but hold its shape and texture, with a slight ‘bite’ in the middle – this is known as al dente.

Vital Ingredients

Pasta does not contain many ingredients, but the quality of these is vital to creating the smooth, elastic, doughy texture we all know and love.

The very best pasta normally just contains flour and water, and using only the very best flour is necessary to make the finest pasta.

When you are making and eating pasta you should not be able to detect any grains of flour at all – the dough should be perfectly smooth and pliable.

This is achieved by using extremely fine flour. Although you can make perfectly nice pasta at home using all-purpose flour, Italian pasta is normally made using one of the following types of flour:

Semola flour

Semola flour is an extremely fine flour derived from durum wheat. However, it is not to be confused with durum wheat flour! The fine texture of semola makes it perfect for making smooth eggless pasta.

Semolina flour

Semolina comes from the intermediate milling stage of durum wheat and is coarser and stronger in flavor than semola.

Semolina is also high in gluten, giving it great elasticity when combined with water. This type of flour is perfect for making ridged and shaped pasta.

00 flour

00 flour is a traditional wheat flour, just like your all-purpose flour, that has been ground into finer particles. This flour has a subtle flavor and makes a lovely smooth pasta dough, perfect for ravioli and other stuffed pasta.

Of course, some Italian pasta also contains egg – how do you know whether to choose an eggy or egg-free pasta?

Egg pasta, sometimes referred to as noodles, has a softer texture and richer flavor, which will perfectly complement dishes such as a rich tomato or beef sauce.

Plain pasta is lighter in flavor, and will not overshadow subtle flavors such as seafood, fish, and vegetables.

Pressing Techniques

You will see two different pressing techniques referred to when buying pasta – but what is the difference between these methods?

  • Teflon pasta presses give a smooth and even finish to the pasta. This means when the end product is cooked it will look glossy and shiny, but sauces will just slide off them.
  • Bronze-cut pasta is the more traditional method, and pasta pressed using this method will be rougher and less dense. The cooked pasta will be less glossy in appearance but will soak up and hold sauces well.

Pasta Shapes

Feeling overwhelmed by the range of pasta shapes on sale at the store? Yes, us too! But believe it or not, there is good reason for all those different shapes and textures, and Italian chefs have spent years perfecting the ultimate pasta shapes.

So, what on earth are all these different shapes for?! Let’s take a look!

Ribbon Pasta – Tagliatelle, Lasagne, Pappardelle, Mafaldine

Ribbons of pasta pair well with pesto, fresh tomato, and wine- or butter-based sauces. They work best with sauces that are slightly ‘sticky’, otherwise, the sauce will slide off the smooth surface of the pasta.

Strand Pasta – Bigoli, Spaghetti, Vermicelli, Angel Hair

These fine pasta strands are normally mixed into the dish, such as the classic spaghetti bolognese or Singapore vermicelli noodles. They do not hold sauce well but are thin enough to mix right through the dish.

Tubular Pasta – Penne, Rigatoni, Cannelloni, Macaroni

Tube-shaped pasta is used in dishes where the sauce will not stick well to the pasta, so the inside of the tube is used as a carrier for the sauce.

The tubes often also have ridges on the outside to further increase the sauce-carrying capabilities of the pasta.

Shaped Pasta – Conchigle, Casarecce, Farfalle, Cavatelli

Again, these kinds of pasta are designed to hold sauces. The shapes are normally slightly concave or shell-like, to allow the pasta to carry the sauce from plate to fork.

Soup Pasta – Orzo, Fregula, Ditalini, Israeli Couscous

This should be fairly self-explanatory, but soup pasta is designed to go in soup! These kinds of pasta are normally quite dense and will hold their shape and texture well, whilst also absorbing the flavors of the soup.

Stuffed Pasta – Ravioli, Tortelloni, Cappelletti, Maultasche

Pasta for stuffing is normally mild and subtle so that it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the filling. It should also be easy to mold and hold its shape well during the cooking process.

Ultimately, if you can’t get the pasta shape your recipes calls for, look for something similar to substitute instead.

But at the end of the day, any type of pasta should work with your dish, and you may just need to adjust your cooking times or supply some crusty bread to mop up the extra sauce!

The 11 Best Italian Pasta Brands You Can Buy At The Store

From organic penne egg pasta to mild, delicate vermicelli noodles, the key to buying Italian pasta is to pick the one which will work the best with your recipe.

Here are our top picks for the 11 best Italian pasta brands you can buy at the store!

RankBrandBest Feature
1.De CeccoBest overall pasta brand
3.Garofalo100% Organic
4.MontebelloUses fresh mountain spring water
5.Dal RaccoltoArtisan pasta
6.La MolisanaMade with fresh mountain water
7.Lidia’s PastaHigh protein content
8.ColavitaFree from any artificial ingredients
9.Banza Chickpea PastaLow carbs and gluten-free
10.Pastificio Di MartinoVegan
11.Rustichella d'AbruzzoBronze-pressed

1. De Cecco

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  • Shape: Fettuccine – an extra-thin ribbon pasta
  • Ingredients: Eggs, durum wheat semolina
  • Features: GMO-free, free from coloring agents, bronze-cut
  • Serving Suggestion: Egg fettuccine with mussels, clams, yellow peppers, garlic, and olive oil

De Cecco tops many chef’s lists as the best store-bought Italian pasta, and it is easy to see why!

This dried pasta is bronze-pressed to give a gently textured surface, perfect for holding sauces. The pasta is then slow-dried to preserve the great flavor and texture.

De Cecco pasta also cooks up to a perfect al dente consistency, even though these ribbons are incredibly thin and delicate. Widely available in grocery stores, if you haven’t tried De Cecco pasta yet then you don’t know what you’ve been missing!

2. Barilla

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  • Shape: Angel Hair – a very fine strand pasta
  • Ingredients: Semolina flour
  • Features: GMO-free
  • Serving Suggestion: Works perfectly with light sauces, such as garlic and herbs.

You won’t find many grocery stores which don’t stock one range of Barilla products or another, and they make a huge array of different pasta to suit all tastes.

Affordable and high-quality, Barilla is a great pasta if you want to upgrade your selection but can’t afford the premium artisan ranges. In fact, it tastes so good it could be served in a top-class restaurant!

3. Garofalo

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  • Shape: 3 different shapes – casarecce, penne rigate, and gemelli
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Organic, bronze-cut
  • Serving Suggestion: These shapes will all work well with thick, rich sauces, such as a beef ragu.

Seeing as Garofalo have been making pasta since 1789, they can pretty much claim to be the experts in their field!

Garofalo makes bronze-cut pasta with 100% organic ingredients, which are then air-dried in the perfect Italian climate. If you are looking for authentic Italian pasta that is also organic, this is the brand for you!

4. Montebello

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  • Shape: 3 different shapes – farfalle, penne rigate, and strozzapreti.
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Organic, non-GMO, air-dried
  • Serving Suggestion: All three of these shapes are perfect for a delicious pasta salad or side dish.

We love the Montebello Pasta Variety Bundle because it contains such a versatile range of shapes! As a bonus, this brand is also organic, and all the ingredients are non-GMO.

Montebello uses organic durum semolina flour and fresh mountain spring water to make their pasta dough. This is dried in traditional drying rooms, resulting in a pasta which perfectly cooks to al dente every time! 

5. Dal Raccolto

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  • Shape: Strozzapreti – a shaped pasta that looks like a spiraling tube with a split down one side 
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Air-dried, artisan
  • Serving Suggestion: Pair with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh parmesan

Who wouldn’t love serving up a dish containing an exotic-sounding pasta like strozzapreti? 

In case you were wondering, strozzapreti is a traditional hand-rolled pasta, which is shaped into a twisted roll.

The name comes from the Italian words ‘strozza’, meaning choke or strangle, and ‘preti’ which means priests. We’re not sure how a pasta shape came to be named after this murderous act, but it is a great dinner party story!

6. La Molisana

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  • Shape: Penne Rigate – a tubular pasta with a ridged external surface
  • Ingredients: Brown rice, corn, and quinoa
  • Features: Gluten-free
  • Serving Suggestion: Penne pasta is a great choice for a pasta bake

This La Molisana penne rigate is an incredible authentic Italian pasta.

It’s made with the highest quality water and flour, and pushed through a bronze die!

7. Lidia’s Pasta

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  • Shape: Rigatoni – a large tubular pasta
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: High protein
  • Serving Suggestion: Rigatoni works well with thick, creamy sauces

Lidia’s pasta was developed by chef Lidia Bastianich as she wanted a high-protein pasta.

The protein content of the flour used in pasta can dramatically affect the texture and flavor, and this high-protein product really does taste sublime.

8. Colavita

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  • Shape: Orecchiette – a shaped pasta that is said to resemble a small ear!
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Free from artificial ingredients
  • Serving Suggestion: Pair with hearty, rustic sauces such as sausage and broccoli

Colavita pasta is a firm favorite with many chefs, as it has a great consistency as well as incredible flavor.

When cooked, Colavita pasta still retains a firm chewiness, which is delicious when paired with rich and hearty sauces. 

9. Banza Chickpea Pasta

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  • Shape: Rotini – a shaped pasta, with a corkscrew twist
  • Ingredients: Chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, xanthan gum
  • Features: gluten-free, low carb, non-GMO
  • Serving Suggestion: This shape holds sauce well, so pair it with anything you fancy!

This pasta is so good that even if you normally eat gluten, you should give it a try!

Made with chickpeas, it is also low-carb and contains 30% fewer calories than traditional pasta.

10. Pastificio Di Martino

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  • Shape: Farfalle – a shaped pasta that is formed into pretty little bows
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Vegan friendly, GMO free
  • Serving Suggestion: Farfalle pasta is delicious with a light and creamy sauce

With over 100 years of pasta-making experience, the Di Martino family really do know a thing or two about pasta!

This is a deluxe brand of pasta that might be at the higher end of the price scale, but it is definitely worth the money if you want great quality pasta. In fact, it is so good you could eat it on its own!

11. Rustichella d’Abruzzo

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  • Shape: Fusilli col Buco – a long twisted spaghetti
  • Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina
  • Features: Bronze-pressed, artisan
  • Serving Suggestion: These long corkscrews are great with any smooth tomato or oil-based sauce

Fusilli col Buco is a delightfully twisted pasta shape, which was originally made by curling pasta around a knitting needle as it was drying.

This delightful curled Rustichellla d’Abruzzo pasta is made with the finest quality grains blended with pure mountain spring water. Bronze-pressed and slowly air-dried, it has a rough texture that holds sauce beautifully.

De Cecco vs Barilla: Which Is Best?

De Cecco and Barilla are two of the most familiar brands of Italian pasta, and many of us will be faithful to one brand or the other. But which of these is the best Italian pasta?

Look at any recommendations for good Italian pasta, and De Cecco and Barilla will normally come very high on the list.

There is a good reason for this – both brands have successfully created dried pasta that perfectly emulates the authentic taste of Italy!

But if we had to choose a favorite? We would probably pick De Cecco, purely because we love the texture of their bronze-pressed pasta!

It tastes so authentic, you could almost be dining in an Italian piazza sipping a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio.

Apologies to Barilla, and we do love your pasta too – but De Cecco takes our number 1 spot this time!

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One Comment

  1. How do you know if these grains are local to the region or if the American distributor isn’t forcing the farmers to grow American grains that are sprayed with glyphosates and other chemicals, then sending them back to the US as an “imported” product? I just don’t trust them, and I have seen people go to Italy, eat “crap”, feel great and lose weight without working out, come back to the US, eat “right”, feel like garbage while working out hard.

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