We use only "coarse" durum wheat semolina to obtain a signature pasta with a distinctive taste. We knead the semolina with cool spring water to maintain firmness after cooking. We use bronze drawplates to create a rough surface to better retain sauce. We dry pasta slowly at low temperature to preserve the flavor of our wheat.
The best pasta is made starting from the finest quality ingredients beginning with excellent durum wheat. This is what makes the difference.
First of all De Cecco pasta is not made with any kind of wheat, but rather from the best durum wheat, the ones golden like the sun.
For De Cecco passion for quality is very tangible. That’s why experts inspect the harvest fields checking the quality of the wheat, which is bound for shipment to the mill (Molino) in Fara San Martino. De Cecco uses only pale yellow grains, which are called colored grains, the same ones that you re-discover in your plate after a laborious process.
Upon arrival the wheat goes through lab checks according to cutting edge technology and equipment, ensuring the most accurate and rigorous testing possible. Both the grain shape and appearance is carefully examined: the surface must be even, without stains or imperfections, and the color must be pale yellow.
De Cecco Pasta has another secret that makes it special: the final gluten control, which is carried out by: "the owner's bare hands". This is a ritual that has been running in the family for generations and is one of the company’s most treasured assets, which allows for the selection of the best grains. After the selection, the different grains are blended. This is the only way to determine with precision the taste, color and fragrance of De Cecco pasta.
All stories about pasta start in a wheat field, but the story of De Cecco pasta doesn’t begin in just any wheat field. Putting a plate of pasta on the table, preserving the sweet taste and aroma of the best wheat, requires dedication from the very beginning.
Speaking of milling, De Cecco can really allow itself to bring grist to its mill.
Even before 1886, before the existence of the pasta factory, in a small village in the Maiella, don Nicola De Cecco produced "the best flour of the surrounding countryside" in his stone mill. This allows us to say that in De Cecco they know all there is to know on wheat and milling.
Even today, all the wheat is ground in the mill adjacent to the pasta factory. It is thanks to the mill that De Cecco can blend the different wheat grains at the moment and use fresh ready milled semolina flour.
But the first wheat milling does not entail mere grinding.
Milling is when the grains, accurately cleaned of all harvesting impurities, are then deprived of all the least noble parts.
All this care in milling is motivated by the fact that De Cecco makes pasta using only the precious husk of the durum wheat.
In order to do this, the grains are softly "rid off" of all their layers down to the heart. By eliminating the outer layers up to 80% of semolina flour can be obtained.
As only the husk of the wheat is used, at De Cecco only 60% of semolina flower can be obtained, which means an inferior quantity of semolina flour but of a higher quality.
A minor rendering versus a major quantity of semolina flour and thus of pasta.
Think about this the next time you choose De Cecco.
The other essential ingredient of De Cecco pasta now enters the scene: the pure and cold water, “De Cecco spring water.” De Cecco has the exclusive ownership of a source of mountain spring water, located right next to the factory. Even if every pasta factory had its own spring, only few would knead the dough with water around 10°C. Such low temperature is essential to “creating” highly consistent dough, able to hold perfectly while cooking. Mixing coarse flour with cold water is not easy: you need savvy kneaders, who are true masters in preparing different mixtures of dough, and give life to more than 160 pasta types. Just think of it: only spring water and fresh flour. Few products can be so simple and yet so good. De Cecco Pasta has such an aroma and taste that “the De Cecco people”, as connoisseur and gourmet experts, highly recommend enjoying a nice plate of pasta with nothing but extra virgin olive oil, to fully appreciate the sweet tastiness of wheat, enhanced by the simplicity of olive oil. Remember though try only with pasta De Cecco!
Have you ever taken a close look at a fusillo or spaghetto? These and many other pasta types are bronze drawn. If you have, you certainly noticed that they are slightly rough, porous to be exact; they are pale yellow, just like the color of wheat and, if you look really closely, holding it against the light, you will notice the coarse grain of semolina flour. You know where all this comes from? From bronze drawing. It’s through this special process that the pasta takes shape, while the bronze creates that unique porosity that captures the flavors. Bronze drawing is one of De Cecco’s special features, not found elsewhere. In De Cecco this is essential because the primary objective is quality, which needs bronze drawn plates to be reached. Although you never looked at De Cecco pasta closely, you know why it has never “betrayed” a sauce, leaving it at the bottom of the plate.
Are you wondering, what gives De Cecco pasta its unique firmness? If so, you are about to discover another secret, which has made it a unique specialty for over a century: it’s the low temperature drying process. Back in the days, pasta was rolled out and dried in the sun. This was standard till 1889, when Filippo De Cecco invented a drying device, which was licensed and is still cited today in the Treccani Encyclopedia. Given that the drying procedure hasn’t changed much till today, you’ll agree that when De Cecco says "pasta according to tradition", it is no joke. And what does tradition say? The old pasta-making art requires a slow drying process at low temperature, in order to preserve the pale yellow color of the wheat. That’s why in De Cecco, they wait for up to 40 hours for certain pasta types, rather than risking to compromise the color, fragrance, taste or firmness during cooking. Next time any other ordinary pasta overcooks under your boiling sauce, you can’t say you had not been warned.
The tasting ritual. What does that remind you of? Perhaps, of legends of faraway kingdoms? In De Cecco the tasting ritual is far from being a legend: it’s an "all De Cecco" tradition, passed down from generation to generation to guarantee you the best pasta. Before the actual tasting, tasting experts smell the semolina flour, the raw ingredient obtained from milling the wheat, after moistening it with water and letting it rest to set its unique fragrance free. The experts check that the pasta, meaning every single penna or spaghetto, without sauce, meets the standard of excellence of the De Cecco brand: color, aroma, elasticity and firmness during cooking. The smell must be of wheat and the color pale yellow, distinctive of De Cecco grains, and it shouldn’t have bitter streaks. Finally, consistency and elasticity of the pasta are checked. After tasting, which is also done by the owners themselves, the pasta is set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes and then tasted again. This step checks the pasta's capability of not softening and overcooking in the time between being drained and making it to the plate. To pass the test it has to taste “just cooked”. But these are only the last tests of a long series. Before it falls into the tasters' plates, De Cecco pasta went a long way: lab analysis, carried out also on raw pasta, to check that it has the right thickness and is perfect in shape. All this is meaningless, without the tasters’ approval: they have the last word about quality. When it is your turn to taste the pasta, you will realize why De Cecco cares so much.