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Just as the topic.

One of my friends brought me some spaghetti from Italy. What is the difference between spaghetti from Italy and spaghetti from outside of Italy?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is a legal difference: according to Italian law, pasta (which includes spaghetti) is made only with durum wheat. Other countries also accept soft wheat. The difference is in the amount of protein (mostly gluten): durum wheat has more, which in turn gives the pasta a somewhat snappier bite. Also, the cooked pasta stays eatable (as in, non-mushy) for a longer time.

Moreover, some Italian pastas are extruded through traditional bronze dies that leave a slightly rougher surface that makes for better sauce adhesion.

Avoid by all means all stupid Italian pastas made for tourists. Avoid stupid novelty shapes and (most) colored pastas. Some good brands with global distribution that will not let you down: Barilla, Agnesi, Garofalo, De Cecco (thanks for the tip).

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I've also found good pasta (e.g. Barilla) is much harder to overcook. –  jwernerny Jun 27 '11 at 12:32
    
He just said "the spaghetti have colour!"......OMG –  lamwaiman1988 Jun 27 '11 at 15:00
    
As far as "bronze extruded" pasta, I would definitely add Voiello. Harder to find compared to Barilla, and a tad more expensive, but you can definitely feel the difference. –  nico Jun 27 '11 at 15:05
    
I also slightly prefer De Cecco to Barilla. –  ESultanik Jun 27 '11 at 23:13

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