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What is Ancient Grains Pasta (and why you should be eating it)?

Monday 3 January 2022

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to cook. And while the pasta you pick up I the supermarket is fine for a quick Tuesday night dinner, you’re missing out on so much flavour and nutrients from exceptional ancient grains pasta.

You can power up your pasta dishes by selecting those made with ancient grains. It’s better for you and the environment. Let’s dig into this some more.

Ancient Grains Pasta

Usually, the pasta you find in the shop is made from durum wheat. In fact, for a producer to call it Italian pasta, it must be made from durum wheat semolina. However, pasta makers can add in other grains to enhance the characteristics of the food. This is where ancient grains come in.

Great pasta should not cloud the water. This is a sign of too much starch. It should also retain its shape and not need any oil to stop it from sticking. Which makes a myth of the student trick of throwing it against the wall to see when it sticks.

The whole pasta production process affects the end flavour for you. How the pasta is cut, whether using traditional bronze dyes or how the pasta is shaped will change both cooking time and flavour. The drying speed for the dough also impacts the nutrients and taste. Too fast, and the pasta will crack. Too slow and it will spoil.

Ancient grains pasta also packs more nutritional punch. Unlike with white flour, which is processed, ancient grains retain more protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and zinc. And because they are higher in fibre, they are better for your gut as well.

Crafting pasta

But which ancient grains are best for pasta? We’ve been checking out game-changers like Giovanni from Pastificio Carleschi and Simon from Pastaio A Mano who are redefining the way we look at dried pasta and changing up what’s inside it.

They are crafting pasta using ancient grains like Emmer and Spelt and regenerative flour from Wildfarmed. Grains which are grown in the same way that have been for centuries. 


Their pastas are created in the UK from organic British grain and working with other small producers. The result is a better pasta for you and the planet.

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

cacio e pepe

For all you pasta obsessors. Here’s some Cacio e Pepe inspiration to get you going. A creamy, buttery, heavenly combination that’ll certainly get your table talking. Cacio e Pepe is a simple dish meaning cheese and pepper, so it is perfect for letting your ingredients shine. 

Ingredients:

  • 180g Pasta (We’ve used Pastaio A Mano handcrafted, bronze cut, small batch)
  • 40g organic butter
  • A good helping of ground black pepper
  • 2 handfuls of Pecorino or Parmesan from Neals Yard Dairy
  • Seasoning

Method:

  1. Fill a saucepan full of water and bring to the boil
  2. Add your pasta
  3. Get a frying pan onto a medium heat. Once hot, add two ladles of pasta water
  4. Add the butter to the water in the frying pan and let melt - then stir
  5. Add the pepper to the frying pan
  6. Once the pasta is cooked add this to the frying pan and mix
  7. Add a splash of remaining pasta to the pasta mix
  8. Stir and add the Parmesan - keep stirring
  9. Plate up and get it on the table.

Make a sharing feast from scratch

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