Frequently Asked Questions – Pasta Is all pasta the same? Q

Frequently Asked Questions – Pasta
Q Is all pasta the same?
No, chefs should never blame themselves for pasta that turns out sticky, clumpy or breaks during cooking – it’s the pasta!
Choose good-quality pasta, like Barilla® pasta for a perfect meal experience.
Q What’s the best technique for cooking pasta?
It’s like cooking your steak rare or medium: you take it off the grill before it’s done. Similarly, you have to take the pasta
out of the water before it’s done. The water will get absorbed into the pasta. By the time it gets to the table, it’s ready to
eat al dente.
Q Should salt be added to cooking water?
Salt is always used in preparing pasta in Italy. A touch of salt in the water brings out the flavor of the pasta. Sea salt is
recommended since it is a natural product that enhances the flavor without creating salty-tasting pasta. If you are on a
sodium-restricted diet, the salt may be omitted.
Q Should I break spaghetti in half before I boil it?
Don’t break long cuts in half to cook; Barilla® long cuts are sized right so this isn’t necessary.
Q Does adding olive oil to cooking water prevent pasta
from sticking?
No, since oil and water do not mix, the oil will float on top. Sticking and clumping is caused by lesser quality pastas, not
by the absence of oil in the water. Using high quality Barilla® pasta and using the correct proportion of water to pasta will
prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Q How do you know when pasta is al dente?
To test for doneness, cut the pasta with a knife or fork, or bite into it. When cooked the authentic Italian way (al dente), pasta
should be soft on the outside, but still a little hard on the inside.
Don't cook pasta too long or it will not be "al dente"
and will not hold well; if overcooked, pasta will start
to break.
Q Should pasta be rinsed after cooking and draining?
When pasta is done cooking, drain the water and drizzle the pasta with extra-virgin olive oil, but do not rinse. This method
was utilized to rinse excess starch off the pasta. When poor quality wheat is used, the pasta releases too much starch and
sticks together. Because Barilla® pasta is made with high quality durum wheat, the natural starches released from our
pasta complement the pasta meal. These starches allow the sauce to adhere to the pasta better.
Q What is the proper way to store cooked pasta?
Once the pasta has been drained and drizzled with some oil, cool down on flat trays, store in zip-lock bags or sealed
plastic containers; refrigerate and use within several hours. Do not store too much pasta in one container; it will flatten
and degrade the integrity of the appearance.
Q What is durum wheat and why is it used to make Barilla® pasta?
Durum wheat is a hard wheat that, when milled properly, produces high quality semolina. It is high quality because
semolina has higher amounts of protein than other wheat, in the form of gluten. These attributes allow Barilla® pasta to
maintain its cooking consistency, flavor and texture.
Q How do you judge good quality pasta?
The quality of pasta is very dependent upon the kind of wheat used and the manufacturing process. Barilla uses a blend
of the finest durum wheat to produce the semolina that makes our pasta. The innovative milling process and methods
Barilla uses assure the high quality and excellent cooking properties of our pasta. Good pasta will have a unique yellow
color. Properly grown, stored, milled and dried, pasta will have very few impurities such as black specks, white spots or
cracks. During cooking, this pasta will not clump together or form surface stickiness, and it should have good texture
and elasticity upon chewing. Visually the pasta should be an amber yellow color, uniform in size and shape, and without
grayish or reddish shades. Quality pasta will have a pleasant taste and aroma, and always cook al dente.
Q What is a recommended serving size, and is this for cooked
or uncooked pasta?
Although portions served are usually larger, the recommended serving size is 2 oz. of uncooked pasta, which equals
approximately 1 cup of cooked pasta.
Q How should dry pasta be stored?
Dry pasta should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or pantry.
Q Can pasta be frozen?
We do not recommend freezing dry pasta; it is meant to be stored in a cool, dry place. Freezing will not extend the shelf
life of pasta and can potentially expose the pasta to humidity, which may cause mold to form. Freezing cooked pasta is
possible as long as it is combined with a sauce. The pasta may become dried out if sufficient sauce is not added.
Q Does Barilla® pasta contain dairy products?
Barilla® semolina pasta does not contain any dairy products. The lines used to produce our pastas are not used to
make any products containing dairy products. However, the protein in Barilla® PLUS® comes from egg whites and other
high-quality ingredients.
Q Does Barilla® pasta contain nuts, nut products
or soy products?
Barilla® semolina pasta does not contain any nuts, nut products or soy products. The lines used to produce our pastas
are not used to make any products containing nuts or soy.
Q Are the carbohydrates in pasta good for you?
Pasta is a complex carbohydrate with a relatively low Glycemic Index and can be part of a healthy diet.
Q Is pasta a “good” carbohydrate?
Yes. Pasta is one of the best carbohydrates you can eat. It has a low Glycemic Index, which means it doesn’t cause a spike
in blood sugar and provides the body and brain with longer-lasting energy. Another great thing about pasta is that it serves
as an excellent vehicle to get many better-for-you foods and nutrients into your diet – including vegetables, protein and
good fats.
Q Is Barilla® pasta good for you?
Yes. Barilla® pasta is a good source of thiamin, folic acid, iron, riboflavin and niacin. Pasta is also low in sodium and fat,
and is a cholesterol-free food. When eaten in proper amounts and combined with healthy accompaniments, pasta can
provide the foundation for a healthy, low-fat diet. Healthy accompaniments include fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables,
low-fat meats, fish and poultry.
Q Is pasta fattening?
No. Pasta itself is not fattening. Pasta, a low-fat food, becomes fattening only when it is consumed in quantities larger
than the body requires and/or when it is combined with large amounts of fat-rich ingredients such as oil, butter, cream,
cheese, sausage, meat, etc.
There are more than 350 pasta shapes produced
around the world.
Q How do I incorporate pasta into soup?
Leaving pasta in soup all day is not a good idea. It will become too soft or even fall apart. It’s best to leave it on the side
and add closer to serving time.
Q How can I increase my ROI using pasta?
Pasta is affordable and satisfying. You can stretch out smaller amounts of protein while still generating satisfaction. It
also minimizes labor cost and maximizes profit potential, because it’s quick and simple to prepare, and Barilla® pasta
holds well for reduced waste. Pasta also offers you a popular vegetarian option for the increasing movement towards
meatless entrées.
Frequently Asked Questions – Pasta Bar
Q How should I set up my pasta bar?
All pasta bars look different. Consider your space, the size of your operation and the number of people you’re serving and
start small. You don’t necessarily need 5 pasta cuts – maybe start with 2 cuts and 2 sauces. Start simple and then take
customer requests. For a consultation with Barilla, contact your Barilla sales representative.
Q Is having numerous pasta cuts and sauces the best way to go?
Not necessarily. If there are too many pastas and sauces, diners may get overwhelmed and you will end up with lots of
waste. As important as it is to pick popular cuts, short cuts are best for pasta bars.
Q Why have a pasta bar?
A pasta bar is one of the most profitable stations a facility can offer. According to, noodles are
a “hot trend.”2 Italian is the #1 ethnic cuisine in the U.S. and pasta menuing is up 11.5% since 2002.1 When Stanford
University put its pasta bar together, more pasta entrées were sold than chicken entrées, and profitability increased at the
same time.
Q What is the cost of entry for a pasta bar?
In most cases, pasta is already on the menu, so bring the pasta station, exhibition station and salad bar to life and you will
bring new excitement (and more customers) to your facility. Since you probably already have an induction stove and pasta
inventory, your main investment will be time and creativity. Go for it!
Q What shapes go with larger ingredients?
A good rule to remember is to pair same-sized ingredients. For example, large-sized accompaniments work best
with larger pasta shapes.
1 Menu Mine, 2008 Strength Data
2 Technomic, 2008
Frequently Asked Questions – Barilla
Q Where is Barilla Headquartered?
The Barilla corporate offices are located in Parma, Italy. Barilla America’s corporate offices are located in
Bannockburn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
Q How do you pronounce “Barilla”?
“Baa-” like what a lamb says, “rill-” like a fishing reel, “la” like the note in a song. Some people drop the “ll” and pronounce it
“Ba-ree-a.” This isn’t right.
Q Is Barilla really the world’s largest maker of pasta?
Yes. Barilla is Italy’s largest food manufacturer and the world’s largest pasta maker, producing 4,000 tons of dried pasta
daily in over 120 shapes and sizes. The company operates 29 production plants in Europe, Asia and the United States,
providing people in over 100 countries with the finest food products available, including semolina pasta, egg and filled
pasta, pasta sauces, breads and toasts, short pastry and filled biscuits, snacks, cakes and crispbread.
Q Why pay more for something that gets covered
with sauce?
Barilla® is truly a chef’s pasta. Not only does it offer quality taste, texture and appearance, but it’s durable too. Barilla uses
signature semolina that is known to cook perfectly. Chefs save time and money because it holds well and reduces waste.
What’s more, it’s a trusted brand that customers like and will complement their dishes remarkably.
Q Where is Barilla® pasta made – in the United States
or Italy?
Barilla® pasta that is sold in the United States is made in our plants in Ames, Iowa and Avon, New York with a few
exceptions. Barilla® Tortellini, Fusilli Bucati Corti, Orecchiette and Oven Ready Lasagne are made in Italy. Our Barilla Italy
products state “Product of Italy, Distributed by Barilla America, Inc.” on the packaging.
Barilla opened the Ames plant in the fall of 1998. The Barilla family was very concerned about maintaining Barilla’s high
quality standards in the new plant. Consequently, the machines used in our Ames plant are the same as those in our plant
in Parma, Italy. The recipe, wheat blend and manufacturing techniques are the same as those used in Parma, Italy.
Q Is the Italian product different than the product
made in the U.S.?
The same recipe is used in Italy and the United States.
Q Is Barilla a privately held company?
Yes. Barilla is privately owned by the Barilla family. The fourth generation of the Barilla family is as committed to producing
quality and innovative products today as its great-great grandfather was over 130 years ago.
Q Does my distributor stock Barilla® pasta?
Barilla is nationally distributed through the top houses (Sysco, etc.) and has a strong presence with independent Italian
distributors. Request a stocking guide of all Barilla® products from your sales representative or contact your local Barilla broker.
Q How can we retain customers and make people want to
stick with Barilla® products?
Quality attracts loyalty. Customers become repeat customers because they know that a particular restaurant will
consistently satisfy their craving for quality meal choices. Barilla® products are made for people like that.
© 2011 Barilla America, Inc.