InGrain Pastificio Inc.
North Vancouver, BC
Up until 50 years ago most dried pasta in the market place was produced the old fashioned way. It was extruded through a bronze die and dried at low temperatures over a 24-48 hour period. Presently, major manufactures are using Teflon dies to extrude their pastas and they are drying their pasta in ultra high temperature ovens for 1-2 hours, saving money, time and labour. The problem is that the excellent nutritional content of wheat is denatured by the ultra high temperatures of the drying process as the glutens are converted into a hard plastic state. Great for long-term storage or shelf life but terrible for nutritional content and digestibility. Mass manufactured pasta will produce a large, stiff and flavourless core when cooked al dente but does not offer the textural, creamy layers and flavour that a good, traditional pasta should have.
Lets get something straight… Noodles come from China, Pasta comes from Italy, but the ingredients for both come from Western Canada. The Italians perfected pasta in a little town just south of Napoli called Gragnano. This town and the pasta produced there have been given protected status under European law. Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP). Gragnano pasta must adhere to some strict guidelines in order to qualify for the IGP status. 1. It must be extruded through a bronze die 2. It must be dried at low temperatures for 6 - 60 hours 3. It must be produced and packaged within the Gragnano area. 4. Local water from the Lattari mountains must be used. Etc. etc. Alarmingly, it does not state where the grains should come from and that is because, whether it's the small, traditional pastifici in Gragnano or the largest producers in the world, many source grains from western Canada. This is a Cascadian story. We are blessed with an amazing terroir for growing various different grains from Hard Durum and the many different clones to Spelt, Einkorn, Emmer or Buckwheat. All produce excellent pasta! There are only two ingredients in good quality, super traditional, dried pasta… flour + water and we have an abundance of both right here in the Pacific Northwest.