What is durum wheat, and why is it the best type of wheat for pasta?
Durum wheat is a variety of wheat that is used primarily for making pasta, couscous, and some breads. Durum wheat, also known as Triticum durum, is a hard variety of wheat that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, specifically in the area that is now modern-day Turkey and Syria. From there, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and eventually made its way to other parts of the world, including North America.
Durum wheat is a winter crop, meaning it is planted in the fall and harvested in the summer. It requires a warm climate with plenty of sunshine and a long growing season. The ideal temperature range for durum wheat is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, and it requires well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients.
In terms of cultivation, durum wheat is typically grown using conventional tillage methods, which involve ploughing the soil and using herbicides to control weeds. However, there has been growing interest in sustainable and organic methods of cultivation, which may involve reduced tillage, cover cropping, and other techniques to improve soil health and biodiversity.
Today, durum wheat is primarily grown in the Mediterranean region, with Italy being the largest producer followed by Turkey, Iran, and Egypt. It is also grown in other parts of the world, including North America, Australia, and parts of Asia and Africa.
Overall, the history and cultivation of durum wheat have played an important role in the development of agriculture and food production around the world. Its unique characteristics make it an essential ingredient in many traditional dishes, and ongoing research and development are helping to improve its yield, quality, and sustainability for future generations.
Why should I use durum wheat pasta?
Durum wheat pasta is a popular choice for cooks due to its unique texture and flavour, as well as its versatility in the kitchen. Durum wheat pasta holds up extremely well to sauces and other ingredients and can be cooked to a variety of textures, from al dente to soft and tender
Another reason why durum wheat pasta is preferred by many is because it is less likely to become mushy or sticky during cooking, compared to other types of pasta made from common wheat or other grains. This is due to the high gluten content in durum wheat, which gives it that firm and chewy texture.
All of Waveney Mill pasta is proudly made with durum wheat. We make our British pasta by mixing durum wheat semolina with water to form a dough, which is then extruded through bronze dies and cut into various shapes, such as Penne, Girandole and Spatziola. We then dry our pasta to reduce its moisture content and increase its shelf life.
What are the benefits of durum wheat pasta?
Durum wheat pasta offers several nutritional benefits, as well as other advantages for both health and the environment.
One of the primary benefits of durum wheat pasta is that it is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which are an important source of energy for the body. Unlike simple carbohydrates, which are found in sugary and processed foods and are quickly digested and absorbed, complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and provide a steady source of energy over a longer period of time.
Durum wheat pasta is also a good source of dietary fibre, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Fibre can also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
In addition to its nutritional benefits, durum wheat pasta is also more environmentally sustainable than other types of pasta. This is because durum wheat requires less water and fertilizer to grow than other wheat varieties and is therefore less taxing on the environment.
Furthermore, by partnering with British wheat farmers, Waveney Mill helps support local economies and reduce transportation emissions.
Is durum wheat pasta healthy?
Durum wheat pasta can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, particularly when eaten in moderation and in combination with other nutrient-rich foods.
As mentioned earlier, durum wheat pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, which are important for maintaining healthy digestion and providing sustained energy. Additionally, durum wheat pasta contains several essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and selenium.
However, it’s important to note that not all types of durum wheat pasta are created equal. Unlike Waveney Mill pasta, where it’s made with just two ingredients: durum wheat semolina and water, some brands of pasta may be high in added sugars, salt, or unhealthy fats, which can negate many of the potential health benefits.
Does durum wheat pasta taste different?
Durum wheat pasta does have a slightly different taste compared to regular pasta made from soft wheat. It has a nutty, earthy flavour that is more pronounced than regular pasta. The texture of durum wheat pasta is also different, as it is firmer and chewier, with a more satisfying bite. This texture is particularly desirable for certain types of pasta dishes, such as those with thick sauces or hearty ingredients like meat or vegetables.
Durum wheat pasta recipe inspiration
There are countless delicious recipes that can be made with durum wheat pasta. Here are three ideas to get you started:
In conclusion, durum wheat pasta has a distinct taste and texture that sets it apart from regular pasta. While it can be more expensive and require more chewing, it is also more nutritious and versatile in certain dishes.
By experimenting with different recipes and cooking methods, you can discover the many delicious ways to enjoy durum wheat pasta.