New ideas, but not only: current products and trends in the art of making pasta

New ideas, but not only: current products and trends in the art of making pasta

6 September 2013 Off By Pastaria

A brief review of the products presented by Italian pasta makers at the recent edition of Tuttofood. Health products, imaginative fillings, new packaging, environmental awareness and a lot of tradition: these are the guidelines which the modern pasta factory seems to be following.

The fourth edition of Tuttofood, held in Milan from 19-22 May recently came to a close.

The four-day event saw a record attendance of visitors (50,210 certified professional operators) with a 40% increase in overseas visitors (from 122 countries), and 20% more Italian visitors.

Many, over a hundred, pasta makers were present. We went around their stands to find out what’s new and to get an idea as to how sector trends are moving.

Amongst these trends, the strong and growing attention producers put into coming up with ‘health’ and ‘wellness’ products is clearly consolidated, together with products dedicated to specific diets (the world of gluten-free or organic, for example), which are able to meet the growing awareness of the modern consumer towards these aspects.

The desire for innovation often finds expression in the highly original fillings used in fresh filled pasta, created by the renowned imagination of the Italian pasta maker and/or the interesting different ways to restyle packaging.

Finally, there was still a huge element of tradition, with advertising perhaps focusing even more on this aspect (through packaging, catalogues, stand organization, etc..), in terms of production techniques and technologies (bronze dies, slow drying, hand shaping …) as well as in the formulation of recipes and the choice of ingredients, which increasingly more often boast a low environmental impact with short, or extremely short (0 km) supply chains.

Without in any way claiming to be exhaustive, the following article is a brief review of the products presented by Italian pasta makers at the recent edition of the Milan trade fair which made an impression on us for one reason or another.


Canuti Tradizione Italiana, the historic company from Rimini (Italy) which was recently taken over by the Paduan entrepreneur, Marcello Toffano, presented its new range of frozen filled egg pasta, ‘Le Riscoperte’, at the Milan trade fair. This range embodies the culture and genuineness of best Italian tradition, such as stone-milled flour which gives the pasta a unique flavour, excellent texture when cooked, quicker cooking times, an intense aroma and a rustic aspect or the drawing through bronze dies which gives the pasta a rough surface so that it holds onto all condiments perfectly.

Of the seven new products in the range, we’d like to draw your attention to the ravioli with Gran Gru di Grotta (a special pecorino cheese ripened in a cave) and flower petals. These stand out thanks to the distinguishing combination of ingredients, where a sheet of quality pasta, made from stone-milled type ‘1’ flour and free-range eggs, is wrapped around a delicious filling made with ricotta, Grand Cru di Grotta cheese (33%), Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and pepper combined with a unique blend of flower petals (malva, rose, marigold and sunflower).

The Gran Cru di Grotta and flower petal ravioli are available in 3-kg packs with PET bag and an 18-month shelf life.


Rough, porous and golden; these are the adjectives which best describe the nice and thick nested pasta with wavy edges brought into the limelight at the latest edition of the Tuttofood trade fair by Cara Nonna, a well-known Apulian pasta factory from San Severo (Foggia, Italy), eloquently named ‘Festoni tutto uovo’ (All egg festoons).  In fact, this product is made using only durum wheat semolina and fresh eggs (27%), with no added water.

It is offered in packs of 500 g in a white paper bag with appealing graphics which bring to mind old pasta making traditions.



Copaim (Albinia, Grosseto, Italy) launches Voilà on the market, its new line of fresh pasta created so that consumers can enjoy unique and original flavours in fancy forms. Seven new recipes, strictly adhering to the quality of old, but with strong aspects of innovation and great creativity in the combination of ingredients, all offered in handy square trays, always ready for use.

The quality of the pasta sheet is guaranteed by using Tuscan durum wheat semolina and at least seven free-range eggs per kilo of semolina. With no water and no food colouring.

One of the line’s products is ‘bauletti’ (literally ‘little cases’) filled with PDO Tuscan ham and figs. The originality of the format also brings together the innovation of using fruit in the filling to enhance the fabulous sweet-savoury combination in a really unusual way.  They taste great topped with crispy bacon and grated pecorino cheese.

The PDO Tuscan ham and fig ‘bauletti’ are available in trays of 250 g, with a shelf life of 12 days.



True to its long and consolidated experience in the production of gluten-free pasta for its own and other brands, Farmo, a company from Casorezzo (Milan, Italy), which also operated in the bakery sector (biscuits, cakes, snacks and mixes), presented its own extensive range of gluten-free pasta products at the Milan trade fair.

Out of all of these products, we will limit ourselves to pointing out just one, the rigatoni, made using a skillful blend of corn flour and rice flour and drawn through bronze dies, which as well as being certified Gluten-free can also boast Kosher certification, an important aspect to a growing number of consumers.

Farmo’s corn and rice gluten-free rigatoni are available in 400 g bags with a shelf life of 3 years.



Fontaneto, the well-known pasta factory from the province of Novara (Italy), is putting a great deal of focus on healthy eating, with its new ‘forma e sapore’ (shape and taste) agnolotti, one of the most interesting products in a new range which sets out to satisfy both the most demanding palates as well as consumers who want to watch their figure and well-being, giving the pasta factory a whole new opening in the hotel market dedicated to wellness.

Agnolotti are a typical kind of pasta from Piedmont. In this particular version, which is attentive to nutritional aspects, they are filled with top quality meat, from which the fat has carefully been removed, and ingredients rich in natural antioxidants that are particularly effective in maintaining a youthful skin tone, such as spinach and tomato paste.

A 125 g portion of these agnolotti served with 4 g of extra virgin olive oil make up a complete dish with very few calories. In fact, they provide the same calories as 80 g of pasta with tomato sauce with the added benefit of also providing the same amount of protein as 100 g of meat. It provides just 16% of the overall recommended daily allowance for total fats and just 18% when it comes to saturated fats (RDAs 2012 for a diet of 2,000 kcal per day).

The pasta sheet for the agnolotti is made using durum wheat semolina, wheat flour type ‘0’, pasteurized whole eggs (20% of the pasta, 10% of the total weight), water, salt and tomato paste.

The filling consists of roast pork, roast beef, ham, PDO Grana Padano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, spinach, skimmed milk powder, tomato paste, salt, vegetables in varying proportions (onions, carrots, celery), red wine, herbs, preservative:  E200.

The agnolotti are available in packs of 500 g in MAP and have a shelf life of 38 days.


The Gino Girolomoni Agricultural Cooperative in Isola Del Piano (in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, Italy) brought something interesting into the Tuttofood arena, penne rigate produced with an organically grown wheat of great value, both nutritionally and from an historical point of view: we are talking about Graziella Ra®, an ancient grain which came from an archaeological dig in Egypt and which is currently grown in Italy exclusively at Isola del Piano, in the Montebello hills.

The penne are drawn through bronze dies and dried slowly at low temperatures (8 hours – while it takes around 24 hours to dry long-cut pasta) so that they maintain all the nutritive and organoleptic characteristics of the raw material.

Graziella Ra wheat is particularly rich in protein, minerals and selenium, a powerful antioxidant that can effectively counteract free radicals.  Another important feature of this wheat is that, due to the fact that it has not been the object of genetic improvement, it lends itself far better than other kinds of wheat for use in diets for people who suffer from food intolerances.

The range also includes spaghetti and farfalle (packs of 500 g).


A nutrient-rich microalgae is the new ingredient in the 100% organic Italian pasta made by the Neapolitan pasta factory Pastificio Artigianale Leonessa. A brand new product presented for the very first time at the Tuttofood international showcase in Milan.

The name of the microalgae in question is spirulina, native to Central America and Central Africa, it is the direct descendant of the first source of life originated from photosynthesis more than three and a half billion years ago. It is now cultivated in a highly controlled environment in Naples, at the Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerche per la gestione delle Risorse Idrobiologiche e per l’Acquacoltura dell’Università Federico II di Napoli (Criacq) (Interdepartmental Centre for Research for the Management of Hydro-biological Resources and Aquaculture at the Federico II University of Naples). A microalgae that Pastificio Artigianale Leonessa, an artisanal business in Cercola dating back to 1974, has decided to introduce into its production cycle for making organic pasta, made using 100% Italian durum wheat semolina and traditional Neapolitan pasta making methods, based on drawing the pasta through bronze dies and drying it very slowly in static cabinets at low temperature.

“Thanks to the proximity of the CRIACQ plants to our pasta factory”, explains Oscar Leonessa, director of the Pastificio Artigianale Leonessa in Cercola, “we will be producing the very first pasta with fresh spirulina. The algae will in fact be harvested first thing in the morning, when the micronutrient content is at its highest, it will then be rinsed, pressed and transported while still alive to the pasta factory.”  Here it will be mixed with organic Italian durum wheat semolina, drawn through bronze dies and placed in a very low-temperature dryer (temperatures below 50°C). The pasta comes out dark green which turns even darker during cooking. From a nutritional point of view it is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients and contains approximately 2% more protein than normal pasta.    Spirulina also strengthens the immune system and stimulates tissue regeneration.

SpiruPasta, the name given to new line of pasta made with fresh spirulina algae, will be on the market soon.



GranPanzerotti represent one of the most interesting and innovative lines from the ravioli making factory Lo Scoiattolo in Lonate Ceppino (Varese, Italy). The clever extravagance of the fillings, wrapped in crescent-shaped ravioli, manages to whet the appetite of even the most extravagant palate, thus revising the concept of filled pasta.

Among the products in this line, GranPanzerotti with potatoes, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano certainly deserve a mention. The classic combination, to date considered only for side dishes, becomes a delicious filling, cleverly wrapped in bronze drawn pasta sheet.

The fact that they only take 3 minutes to cook makes the production even more appealing.

GranPanzerotti by Lo Scoiattolo ravioli factory are available in 250 g MAP, with a shelf life of 70 days.



Pastificio Artigiano Fabbri in Strada in Chianti (Florence, Italy) does not fail to remain, as always, faithful to its ancient origins and tradition of making pasta in an exquisitely artisanal manner.

The pasta type we wish to point out here, exhibited as an example at the recent edition of Tuttofood, is produced using an old bronze die, belonging to the pasta factory and dating back to the forties. We are talking about ‘bestioline’ (literally ‘small animals’) a dry pasta for soup which is very popular with children thanks to their being shaped like animals such as swallows or cockerels. At the same time, however, they are still a product of excellence thanks to the low-temperature production method (below 38°C at every stage of processing) and the raw material used: only low-grade semolina from the best Cappelli wheat grown in Tuscany.



Viazzo’s Riso di Pasta, the first and only pasta made exclusively from 100% Italian parboiled rice, was presented at the latest edition of Tuttofood. It is made by Riso Viazzo, a company in Crova (Vercelli, Italy) which has been involved in the processing and marketing of rice for four generations.

The result of a patented, newly conceived process, it provides an excellent alternative, in terms of taste and versatility, to pasta made with durum wheat semolina. Riso di Pasta contains only parboiled rice and water, is totally gluten-free and contains no chemical or natural additives.

Riso di Pasta is much more nutritious, richer in proteins, vitamins and minerals than white rice. After cooking it absorbs less fat from the added condiments and, thanks to its structure and texture, it is also more digestible.  Consequently it is ideal for celiacs, vegans and anyone who suffers from food intolerances. Riso di Pasta is also appealing in taste because, unlike many other rice pasta types available on the market, it keeps its colour and texture even after cooking.

The Riso di Pasta range comes in four types, penne, fusilli, tortiglioni and sedanini, all wrapped in an elegant 500 g package.



Maccheroncini di Campofilone represent the typical product from the village of Campofilone in the Marches: fine egg spaghettini which cook in the sauce with exceptional results and a high level of absorption.

The maccheroncini produced by La Campofilone are prepared using only raw materials from the company’s supply chain, such as QM certified durum wheat semolina (Quality guaranteed by the Marches region) and fresh free-range eggs (33.4%): they go together beautifully with traditional, dense condiments, such as ragù, but are also excellent with white, fish based sauces.

They are available in elegant cardboard packs of 250 g with a shelf life of 24 months.



Bianconi, an Umbrian pasta factory established in 1947, presented its new ‘Selezione Filiberto Bianconi’ at Tuttofood. This is a premium line awarded with the ‘Sapore dell’Anno’ mark of quality for the year 2013. It is a pasta made from durum wheat semolina extruded through bronze dies, made with select semolina obtained from Italian wheat only and mixed with pure Umbrian spring water. Bronze drawing gives the pasta roughness and porosity, while the slow drying process preserves the classic aroma of the wheat. Selezione Filiberto Bianconi pasta is a product which combines the taste of the best traditional Italian pasta makers with innovation. In a sophisticated and elegant packaging, it is available in thirteen different shapes, from the most traditional (spaghetti, penne rigate and fusilli) to the most delicious specialties (fusilloni, paccheri, gigli and spaghetti alla chitarra) all offered to consumers at the same price.



Durum wheat semolina, buckwheat flour (27%) and eggs (32%) are the ingredients which go into making an interesting product by La Pasta di Aldo, a small company from Monte San Giusto (Macerata, Italy). Here an interest in experimenting, looking for top quality raw materials, slow drying at low temperatures and continuous improvement in pasta making processes (mainly manual) has been turned into distinctive products.

The Saracene pasta made by La Pasta di Aldo comes in lovely packages of 250 g and keeps for up to 24 months.



The ‘tonnarelli alla colatura di alici di Cetara’ enrich the extensive catalog of Paisanella (Pontecagnano, Salerno, Italy), in which fine Mediterranean ingredients (from red beet to basil, lemon to strawberry, hazelnut to pistachio) are added to top quality durum wheat semolina to create interesting special pasta, made strictly by hand, an aspect which is one of the distinguishing marks of the artisanal workmanship which for more than thirty years has characterized production in the Di Nicola family’s pasta factory.

The tonnarelli, (similar to thick spaghetti), in the Paisanella version are split longitudinally so that they pick up the condiment better. They have a rough, copper-colored appearance thanks to the colatura di alici di Cetara (a typical agrifood product from the seaside village of Cetara on the Amalfi Coast, which consists of a liquid sauce obtained by pressing anchovies stored in salt for a number of months and then draining of the resulting liquid). This special liquid, together with durum wheat semolina and water are the only ingredients in this unique and interesting type of dry pasta. They are available in 250-g packs with a shelf life of 24 months.



Duebi Import-Export dry pasta is made with simple, genuine and top quality ingredients. Their egg pappardelle are characterized by a thick and rugged pasta sheet and are made using durum wheat semolina, pasteurized eggs (26%) and water. The pasta is worked with the typical care of the pasta factory in Pomezia (Rome, Italy), which relies on a slow process for the delicate drying phase.

The pappardelle are available in 500-g trays, with a shelf life of 24 months.


Pici is a typical kind of pasta from southern Tuscany, and the Val d’Orcia in particular. This is the pasta shape which best represents the production of the Pastificio Toscano belonging to the Panarese family. This kind of pasta dates back to ancient times when to feed themselves farming families would knead flour and water together to form a dough which was then drawn and rolled by hand to make long spaghetti-like pasta. Their name ‘pici’ comes from the Tuscan dialect word ‘appiciare’ meaning to roll. Pici, like other products from the Pastificio Toscano, are made using only durum wheat which is sown, grown and harvested in Val d’Orcia, drawn through bronze dies and then dried very slowly at a temperature never exceeding 50°C.

Tuscan durum wheat semolina and water – these are the only ingredients which go into making Pastificio Toscano packaged in 500-g propylene bags.



Potato gnocchi made by the Fratelli Porro pasta factory in Pornassio (Imperia, Italy) is a product made by cooking and processing whole potatoes from Piedmont, without using any other mixes or preservatives except type ‘00’ soft wheat flour and eggs. The catalog of gnocchi from the Fratelli Porro also includes beet gnocchi and borage gnocchi.

The gnocchi are available in both MAP trays (500-g packs) with a shelf life of 30 days or frozen (in 250-g, 800-g and 2-kg packs) which can be kept in a freezer for up to 12 months.



As part of its wide range of pasta shapes, the modern Pastificio Lagano plant in Rome produces rigatoni using a mix of select semolina, bronze dies and a typically traditional, low temperature drying process. The result is a product characterized by a remarkable consistency and unmistakable flavor. The rigatoni made by Pastificio Lagano are available in packs of 500 g and 1 kg and have a shelf life of 24 months.



An elegant packaging with a white and blue header card is the best possible way to wrap bronze drawn, hand-packed quality dry pasta: the paccheri made by the Pastificio Fratelli De Luca were there to represent the company from Chieti Scalo (Chieti, Italy).

The products manufactured by the Pastificio Fratelli De Luca are made using a selection of top quality, natural ingredients, medium-low drying temperatures and production techniques which preserve the organoleptic qualities of the raw materials.

The paccheri are available in packs of 500 g. Cooking time: 13 minutes.

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