A few weeks ago, I was in Rome to report a story with food blogger extraordinaire Katie Parla. We ate. A LOT. I wanted to bring it all home with me, of course, but my tiny roller only had room for one food souvenir. So I asked her what she'd bring back if she was similarly limited.
She steered me to this pasta beaut, Pastificio dei Campi. Here's why it's worth packing three pounds of the stuff home for your fellow food-obsessives. (Can you believe I'm giving most of it away?)
1. It's nearly impossible to find in the U.S.
Well, at least in brick-and-mortar stores. If you live in Atlanta or L.A., you're in luck.
2. You'll never have to worry about sauce slippage again.
You know how some pastas seem to shimmy right out of their marinara? That's because mass-produced pastas are typically shaped using via teflon-coated dies—you'd attach one to your extruder at home to turn dough into linguine or spaghetti—leaving a nice shiny surface that practically repels sauce. Not so Pastificio, which shapes its pasta using rough bronze dies. The effect: A textured noodle that'll cuddle right up to your bolognese.
3. You're supporting Italy's precarious local food system.
Purist alert: Pastificio's pasta is 100-percent Italian, which might not seem surprising until you realize that much of the Italian-branded pasta on the market these days is made from imported wheat. Pastificio, headquartered in Gragnano, Italy, sources locally grown durum wheat, uses mineral water from the nearby Monti Lattari range, and even makes all packaging on site. The company is so committed to transparency that it even allows you track each individual package from field to box.
P.S. As you can tell, my trip conicided with the release of our Italy-lovin' November/December issue. Worth a read!