Italy without pasta? Well, it’s unimaginable isn't it. Visit any supermarket or grocers and you will see an enormous selection of pasta so how to make a choice, given that every Italian household has a myriad of different pasta types? The first thing to look at are the ingredients and with dry pasta you should be looking for durum wheat which, when ground, is also known as semolina. In fact, it is the same ingredient that is used to make couscous. Italians are also very keen on eating food produced in Italy so follow their lead and try to find a product not only made in Italy but one using Italian-grown wheat.
Next thing to look for is the way the pasta is moulded. Modern pasta is extruded through Teflon dies and that gives it a smooth surface. Now, there is nothing wrong with this and millions of Italians eat pasta produced in this way every day. However, the purpose of pasta is to pick up sauce and to improve this aspect look for a pasta that has a rough, matt surface to it and on the packet the word bronzo. This is pasta that has been produced using a traditional bronze die and whilst more expensive certainly is better with tomato-based sauces.
Finally, for the true aficionado there is Gragnano pasta but for this read the article on the Citta di Pasta.