When in Rome, go for handmade noodles. When at home, opt for this most common store-bought pasta variety, made with semolina flour (similar to coarse white flour). These winners boast a sandy exterior with tiny crevices that help sauce stick. Plus, they’re sturdy enough to pair with Grandma’s Bolognese.
RSlong-pasta pick: Barilla Thick Spaghetti, $1.70 for 16 ounces, at supermarkets.
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RSshort-pasta pick: De Cecco Penne Rigate, $2.30 for 16 ounces, at supermarkets.
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Made from whole wheat, rye, or a combination of grains, these noodles are more nutritious than their semolina cousins. Whole-grain varieties can have an earthy taste and a rubbery texture, but these winners are slightly sweet and toothsome. Their mild flavor pairs nicely with garlic and olive oil or roasted vegetables.
RSlong pick: Racconto 8 Whole Grain Spaghetti, $3 for 16 ounces, at supermarkets.
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RSshort pick: 365 Everyday Value Organic Whole Wheat Penne Rigate, $2 for 16 ounces, Whole Foods Markets.
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If you’re allergic to gluten (a protein found in wheat), there’s no need to give the boot to your favorite Italian dishes. Gluten-free pastas, usually made from corn or rice, are easy to find. And although some kinds turn gummy, these favorites stayed firm. The penne tastes faintly like popcorn; try it with ham, peas, and Parmesan. The spaghetti has a subtle rice flavor that goes with everything.
RSlong pick: Lundberg Family Farms Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta, $4 for 10 ounces, at supermarkets.
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RSshort pick: Trader Joe’s Corn Pasta Penne, $1.40 for 16 ounces, Trader Joe’s.
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Does your family have an aversion to whole-grain pasta—either the taste or the darker color? Try the next best thing: an enhanced semolina pasta. It looks and tastes like your favorite white pasta but is loaded with calcium, fiber, and vitamin D. So sneaky, so delicious.
RSlong pick: Ronzoni Smart Taste Spaghetti, $1.50 for 12 ounces, at supermarkets.
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RSshort pick: Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate, $1.50 for 12 ounces, at supermarkets.