This post will introduce Italian pasta brands known for their flavorful products and traditional methods. Use our comparison table below to guide your choice.
For the record, I have personally tried all the pastas below.-Luca
A few takeaways:
- Barilla and De Cecco are likely the best known (rich history since the 1800s.)
- Brands like Rummo and Felicetti offer unique regional flavors.
- Garofalo and La Molisana blend sustainability with tradition.
- Brands like Pastificio Gentile and Benedetto Cavalieri showcase artisanal craftsmanship.
- La Rosa and Pastificio Riscossa are lesser-known but high-quality choices.
- Pastificio Liguori stands out with its prestigious IGP certification, embodying authentic Italian pasta excellence.
Pasta Brands from Italy Compared
|Brand||Established||Origin||Pasta Type Specialty||Notable Fact / Best Known For|
|Barilla||1877||Parma||Various||Global presence, sustainability initiatives|
|De Cecco||1886||Abruzzo||Various||Slow-drying process|
|Agnesi||1824||Liguria||Various||One of the oldest pasta companies in Italy|
|Rummo||1846||Campania||Various||Lenta Lavorazione method|
|Divella||1890||Apulia||Various||Extensive range of Italian foods|
|Garofalo||1789||Campania||Various||High-quality gluten-free options|
|Liguori||1820||Gragnano||Various||IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) certification|
|La Molisana||1912||Molise||Various||High-protein content and flavorful pasta|
|Delverde||1967||Abruzzo||Various||Uses pure spring water in production|
|Voiello||1879||Campania||Various||Premium quality, traditional craft|
|Buitoni||1827||Tuscany||Various||Pioneers of refrigerated pasta products|
|Felicetti||1908||Fiemme||Various||Organic and Monograno lines|
|Marella||1987||Puglia||Artisanal||Colorful and artisan pasta shapes|
|Mancini Pastificio Agricolo||Recent||Marche||Spaghetti||Farm-to-table approach, single-estate pasta|
|Pasta Zara||Late 19th C||Veneto||Various||Wide international distribution|
|Alfieri||1996||Asti||Artisanal||Egg pasta, especially tajarin and agnolotti|
Best Italian Pasta Brands
In my opinion, the best brands of Italian pasta from, in no particular order, are the following:
When it comes to pasta, Barilla is the heavyweight, not just in Italy but globally. It’s the go-to brand for many, with a vast array of pasta shapes and types that cater to every dish imaginable.
Barilla has managed to maintain a balance between mass production and quality, which is no small feat. Their penne rigate is versatile and holds sauces well, making it a recommended choice.
You’ll find Barilla in almost every store, and their pasta is consistently reliable for a classic Italian meal.
De Cecco is recognized for its high-quality pasta craftsmanship. While they may not have the same widespread name recognition as Barilla, their dedication to quality is palpable in the texture of their pasta.
It’s rumored that their drying process, which takes longer than most, is the secret to their pasta’s superior taste and al dente consistency. Their fusilli are particularly well-crafted, twisting perfectly to catch every drop of sauce.
If you’re passionate about your pasta, De Cecco is a brand that won’t disappoint.
Agnesi might not be the brand you find in every store, but it’s one that deserves a spot in your pantry. Originating from Liguria, a region with a rich history in maritime trade, Agnesi has had access to some of the finest durum wheat since 1824.
Their tagliatelle, a testament to their legacy, has a silkiness that’s incomparable, turning a simple butter and sage sauce into a dish you’ll remember.
While it may not be as ubiquitous as some of its competitors, Agnesi offers a taste of authenticity that’s becoming increasingly rare.
When you’re eyeing the pasta aisle, Rummo might not jump out at you like some others, but it’s a hidden gem.
Their commitment to an “al dente” guarantee comes from a meticulous wheat selection process and a unique method they’ve patented, called Lenta Lavorazione. It translates to ‘slow processing’, a tradition that takes its time to ensure each strand of pasta holds its shape and texture under the fork.
And, if you ask me, their penne rigate – perfect for trapping hearty sauces – could easily go head-to-head with any high-profile brand.
Divella, hailing from Puglia – a region known as Italy’s breadbasket – brings more than just pasta to the table; it brings a story of a family business that has flourished since 1890.
Their pasta, particularly the rotelle, has a delightful way of holding lighter sauces in its ridges, ideal for those dishes where you prefer the sauce to be a subtle complement, not the star.
Their approach to pasta making respects the old-world traditions, which you can taste in the quality of their product.
Garofalo, a brand from Gragnano in the Campania region, Italy’s renowned pasta-making town, upholds long-standing traditional practices. They have been crafting pasta since the late 18th century, and they’ve got it down to an art.
The fusilli lunghi from Garofalo, with its corkscrew shape, is a personal favorite of mine; it’s like a fun twist (pun intended!) on the usual suspects you find in a pasta dish. It holds onto robust sauces like nobody’s business and is always a conversation starter on the dinner table.
Founded in 1820, Pastificio Liguori stands as one of the oldest and most respected pasta brands in Italy.
They specialize in classic dried pasta types like spaghetti, penne, and fusilli, made using traditional bronze dies. This method gives their pasta a rough texture, allowing sauces to cling effectively, elevating the culinary experience.
The brand’s commitment to quality is underscored by its IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) certification, ensuring adherence to stringent standards and regional pasta-making traditions.
Known for its superior al dente quality and authentic flavor, Pastificio Liguori is a preferred choice for those seeking the quintessence of Italian pasta.
La Molisana is a bit of an underdog in the pasta scene, but that’s what makes it special.
They source their pure mountain water and fine durum wheat from the heart of Molise, a region often overlooked despite its rich culinary history.
Their spaghetti chitarra stands out with its unique square-cut edges and distinctive texture. It’s a must-try for those who enjoy a bit more bite to their pasta and pairs beautifully with a simple tomato and basil sauce.
Delverde, named after its location in the Majella National Park, benefits from a clean and natural environment. So clean that they use pure spring water in their pasta making, which they believe is the secret to their pasta’s superior quality.
I have to say, their orzo has a delightful mouthfeel, ideal for soups or as a substitute in risotto-like dishes. It’s a versatile little pasta that absorbs flavors well and adds a lovely texture contrast in soups.
Voiello uses high-quality durum wheat for its premium pasta products.
Established in 1879, they have a pasta for every preference, but their penne lisce is particularly noteworthy for its smooth texture that contrasts nicely with chunky meat sauces.
While less common than its ridged cousin, penne rigate, the lisce variety offers a unique experience worth exploring for pasta aficionados.
Buitoni, nestled in the lush Tuscany region, has been a household name since 1827, synonymous with quality pasta.
Their tortellini are a testament to their commitment to tradition, with each piece promising a burst of flavor that’s rich and satisfying.
When I think of a comforting, hearty meal, Buitoni’s tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth) often comes to mind.
Pasta Zara hails from the Veneto region and has been part of the Italian pasta scene since the early 20th century. Their range is extensive, but I’ve always appreciated their dedication to producing an exemplary spaghetti.
It strikes the right balance of texture and taste, serving as a prime canvas for a myriad of sauces. It’s a brand I often reach for when I want a reliable pasta for my weeknight dinners.
Pastificio Alfieri, nestled in the heart of Asti, Piedmont, is a revered name in the world of Italian pasta. Established in 1996, it’s a relatively newer player but has rapidly gained a reputation for producing high-quality, artisanal pasta.
What sets Pastificio Alfieri apart is their dedication to traditional methods, coupled with an unyielding commitment to using only the finest local ingredients.
They specialize in crafting egg pasta, a Piedmontese delicacy known for its rich flavor and delicate texture. I had a pleasure to cook Alfieri’s pasta many times and I love how it tastes like (particularly their tajarin and agnolotti).
Marella is a brand that distinguishes itself with artisanal pasta made in Puglia, a region famed for its agricultural bounty.
Their use of organic production and bronze dies creates pasta with a texture that holds sauces well. Their orecchiette, a shape synonymous with Puglia, is exceptional when paired with robust vegetable sauces or a simple cime di rapa sauté.
Mancini Pastificio Agricolo
Mancini Pastificio Agricolo brings a farm-to-table approach to pasta. They grow their own wheat, ensuring that only the finest grains make it into their pasta.
The brand has garnered attention for its artisanal production methods and the traceability of their ingredients. Their spaghetti is particularly noteworthy for its rough texture that clings to sauces beautifully.
Felicetti, from the Dolomites in Northern Italy, stands out for its dedication to using pure mountain water in its pasta production, which they claim enhances the pasta’s flavor.
They also offer a variety of single-grain pastas, including one made from the ancient grain Matt, which has a distinct taste and higher nutritional value.
Their monograno (single grain) line is worth trying for those looking for a pasta with a difference – it offers a new experience in terms of flavor and health benefits.
Lesser Known, but Noteworthy Brands
Misko may be a less familiar name outside of Italy, but within its borders, it’s known for bringing Greek culinary traditions to Italian pasta since 1927.
Their macaroni, often used in the Greek dish pastitsio, is a robust, tube-shaped pasta that holds its texture well in baked dishes. It’s a great alternative for those looking to experiment with international recipes using familiar Italian pasta types.
La Rosa is not as widely known internationally, but in Italy, it has carved out a niche for itself with its durum wheat semolina pastas. Their penne rigate, which has the delightful ridges that sauce clings to, is a personal favorite when making a hearty baked ziti.
It’s a brand that I’d recommend for those who appreciate the subtleties that different pasta shapes can bring to a dish.
Benedetto Cavalieri is a name that connoisseurs of Italian pasta might recognize. Operating since 1918, this Apulian brand takes pride in its ‘delicate method’ of pasta-making that involves a slow milling and kneading process.
Their dedication to tradition shines through in their pasta’s flavor and resilience to overcooking. I find their fusilli to be excellent for cold pasta salads, retaining a firm texture even when dressed for hours.
Antico Pastificio Morelli
Antico Pastificio Morelli, founded in 1860, has been run by the Morelli family for five generations. This Tuscan brand is unique for reintegrating the wheat germ into the pasta, giving it a distinctive texture and a nutty flavor.
I’m particularly fond of their pici pasta – a thicker, hand-rolled spaghetti – which is sublime when served with a simple garlic and olive oil or a hearty meat ragù.
Pastificio Riscossa stands out for its dedication to traditional pasta-making processes. Established in the early 20th century in Apulia, a region known for its durum wheat, this brand has been serving families for generations.
They strike a balance between modern technology and traditional methods, ensuring a consistent product that doesn’t stray far from the old ways of pasta crafting. With a variety of pasta shapes, they cater to all preferences, though they’re particularly praised for their classic cuts.
While not as widely recognized internationally as some other brands, Riscossa maintains a loyal following due to its adherence to quality and tradition.
Hailing from Gragnano, a town often referred to as the ‘City of Pasta’, Pastificio Gentile has been producing high-quality artisanal pasta since 1876. The brand is synonymous with high-quality artisanal pasta.
They use a bronze drawing process, which gives the pasta a rough texture that is excellent for holding sauces. This detail might seem minor, but it is a game-changer in terms of the pasta’s ability to elevate a dish.
The brand is also known for its ‘Pasta di Gragnano IGP’ status, a label that guarantees geographic authenticity and adherence to traditional production methods. For pasta with Gragnano’s traditional qualities, Gentile is an excellent choice.
What should I look for when choosing an Italian pasta brand?
Look for brands that use high-quality durum wheat and traditional production methods. Brands like Barilla and De Cecco are known for their rigorous quality standards and authentic Italian manufacturing processes.
Can the region of origin affect the taste and quality of pasta?
Absolutely. Regions like Gragnano are famous for their pasta due to the local climate and water quality, which influence the texture and flavor. Pastificio Di Martino is an example of a brand that benefits from its regional location.
Are there Italian pasta brands that cater to special diets?
Yes, there are. For instance, brands like Felicetti offer organic and gluten-free options without compromising on the authentic Italian taste.
How does the drying process affect the pasta’s quality?
Slow drying at low temperatures helps preserve the pasta’s nutritional value and flavor. Brands like Rustichella d’Abruzzo adhere to these artisanal methods, ensuring a superior product.
Is there a difference between artisanal and mass-produced pasta?
Artisanal pasta, often made by brands like Benedetto Cavalieri, typically has a rougher texture that better absorbs sauces, due to traditional production techniques like bronze-die extrusion. Mass-produced pasta might miss some of these nuanced qualities.
Italian pasta brands showcase a remarkable culinary heritage, with each offering a distinct experience. Personally, I’m always excited to try new textures and flavors that these diverse brands bring to the table.
I hope this rundown has been helpful and perhaps inspired you to discover your own favorite Italian pasta.