Best Of The Best Pasta In 2023: Top 5 Brands Most Recommended By Experts

Pasta is a staple in every pantry for a quick meal. Whether you’re looking to whip up an easy lunch or create a masterpiece, choosing the best kind of pasta is necessary. Navigating the many pasta options at the grocery store isn’t always easy, so with our help you can explore some of the best pasta brands to put on your grocery list for your next run.

Although pasta has often gotten a bad rap in the health and weight loss world, it turns out that those who eat it often have better diets overall. A recent study including data from tens of thousands of people found that pasta eaters eat a greater variety of nutrients such as iron, folate, magnesium, and fiber, compared to people who do not. Other studies have produced similar findings, reporting that eating pasta often leads to favorable outcomes.

Regardless of health concerns, pasta is a food that brings nostalgia and comfort to millions around the world. One survey of 2,000 Americans found that 60% of people consider pasta to make the best leftovers. It’s no surprise that the Italian classic is a dinnertime favorite for so many!

No matter your reasons for enjoying pasta, StudyFinds is here to take your noodle game to the next level. We gathered the top picks for best pasta brands most commonly recommended across nine expert websites. Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite we didn’t mention!

Spaghetti pasta placed into pot of water
(Photo credit: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images)

The List: Best Pasta Brands, According To Experts

1. Rao’s

Although more commonly known for their flavorful sauce, Rao’s doesn’t just stop there. Experts especially love their bronze die-cut spaghetti.

“Rao’s makes good pasta sauce and (surprise!) they also make good pasta. But what does ‘bronze die cut’ mean? Well, basically, a die is the mold shape through which the pasta dough is extruded at the factory. Those molds, or dies, are typically made of Teflon or bronze. Teflon produces a slicker, less desirable texture (Teflon is also cheaper), whereas bronze produces a rougher, more desirable texture, which helps noodles hold onto sauce,” Sporked writes.

Testers from the Kitchn backed this statement after their trails. “Ultimately, the robust flavor and al dente perfection of Rao’s spaghetti provided the perfect blank canvas for sauce — and ran away with top honors.”

“While some brands shone with a single shape or style, only Rao’s maintained consistent texture and flavor across a variety of pastas,” says Saveur. “All of Rao’s Homemade pasta shapes—short, long, ridged, and smooth—shared excellent etching from bronze-die extrusion, a deep yellow color from an all-semolina dough, and a reliable cooking time.”

2. De Cecco

De Cecco is also a stellar choice thanks to bronze dies, again!

“De Cecco tops many chef’s lists as the best store-bought Italian pasta, and it is easy to see why! This dried pasta is bronze-pressed to give a gently textured surface, perfect for holding sauces. The pasta is then slow-dried to preserve the great flavor and texture,” Foods Guy writes.

The pasta also has a competitive nutrition profile and contains mindfully sourced ingredients.

“Thanks to the egg pasta it has high protein values and slow drying. De Cecco uses excellent water in the dough which comes from the Majella mountains. The pasta factories are obtaining the semolina from European grains,” Italy Best writes.

Saveur claims their spaghetti is the best in the business: “De Cecco’s spaghetti no. 12 is the pasta that Italian American families are raised on. It walks the line between chewiness and give perfectly, embodying premium pasta traits.”

3. Barilla

If you haven’t heard of any other brand on this list so far, that probably has changed now. There aren’t many stores that don’t have Barilla regularly stocked up!

“There’s a chance that you’ve already used Barilla products in your kitchen — and for good reason. It seems that most supermarkets in the United States carry a wide array of Barilla’s products, which include its regular line of 35 plus shapes and cuts, as well as a few specialty lines,” Good Housekeeping writes.

It hasn’t been such a trusty, reliable brand for over 140 years without reason.

Barilla pasta boxes. The brand ranks third on the best pasta brands list.
(Photo by Paul Steuber on Unsplash)

“When you see this stuff, you need to stop and stock up. That’s because it truly is one of the best brands out there, and it’s our favorite that’s widely available at pretty much every store. When you choose Barilla, you know you’re getting quality. The taste is great, and the pasta never turns mushy or gets an odd texture to it. It’s always dependable, despite the fact that it’s not a super expensive option,” Mashed writes.

Foods Guy adds, “Affordable and high-quality, Barilla is a great pasta if you want to upgrade your selection but can’t afford the premium artisan ranges. In fact, it tastes so good it could be served in a top-class restaurant!”

4. La Molisana

On the opposite hand, this pasta isn’t as commonly spotted in stores and thus isn’t as highly ranked in the United States. However, it’s a completely different story in Italy.

“La Molisana is straight from Italy and 100% semolina pasta, which has a beautiful golden color. It’s truly authentic to Italy. It’s from Molise, which is known for its great climate and soil and has many of Italy’s pasta granaries,” Anthony Gargano, Chef and Owner of Osteria Bigolaro in Geneva, Illinois, told Eat This, Not That!

This pasta is so well-loved, that it’s even won awards.

“The best dry pasta brand in Italy has also won the Leonardo Quality Italy award for its high quality and excellence. La Molisana wants to ensure that customers are happy all over the world with the products. Its packaging is simple, yet it looks elegant,” Italy Best writes.

“This La Molisana penne rigate is an incredible authentic Italian pasta,” raves Foods Guy. “It’s made with the highest quality water and flour, and pushed through a bronze die!”

5. Montebello

Established in 1388, Montebello truly embodies the authentic Italian pasta experience.

“I like Montebello’s instructions for cooking spaghetti because they don’t give you an exact cook time, they just tell you to ‘check for doneness.’ Truly, that’s the best way to cook spaghetti. Take a pair of tongs, grab a little sliver of spaghetti noodle, then eat it to test the chew. That attitude makes me trust Montebello, a brand that’s imported via Stonewall Kitchen,” Sporked writes.

This brand is organic and is processed carefully and thoughtfully, making it one of the freshest choices out there.

“Montebello uses organic durum semolina flour and fresh mountain spring water to make their pasta dough. This is dried in traditional drying rooms, resulting in a pasta which perfectly cooks to al dente every time!,” Foods Guy writes.

As Saveur‘s best overall pasta brand, Montebello’s Torchiette shape takes the cake: “The great rolled texture of this shape from Campania has all the sauce-catching benefits of a pinched pasta like rigatoni or fusilli without the uneven cooking downsides. Pesto nestled perfectly in its nooks and crannies.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About the Author

Shyla Cadogan

Shyla Cadogan is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science. She is on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian, with next steps being completion of a dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center where she currently is gaining experience with various populations and areas of medical nutrition such as Pediatrics, Oncology, GI surgery, and liver and renal transplant. Shyla also has extensive research experience in food composition analysis and food resource management.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer

Comments

  1. Whenever someone tells you the most expensive brand is the best, you know it’s baloney, and I don’t mean Mortadella. The exported expensive brands from Italy are sold and priced, touted as the best, but they are not. None are any better than Barilla. And Barilla is not better than American pasta. In fact, we have the best wheat crop here. I have never tasted a better pasta than Creamettes. Target’s store pasta is about as good, and who knows who makes it. Mueller’s is the only bad one, and that is made for children and old people, who need mushy noodles, which is why they have farina added to the flour. The texture makes a difference in how it hold sauce and feels in your mouth, but the surface doesn’t affect the flavor. How the wheat is milled may have an affect. The quality of the local water may have an effect. The big difference between brands is the size, shape and labeling. You can hardly tell a difference between Ronzoni, San Giorgio, Barilla, etc.

  2. All one needs do is go on Amazon to shop. BEST brands are: Monograno Felicetti, La Molisana, Rustichella d’Abruzo, Giuseppi Cocco, Benedetto Cavalieri, Garofalo among others.

    The thing to look for is primarily that the pasta is pale straw color to almost white and that is due to a long drying time at lower temperature than factory made pastas, and the bronze dies that cause the rough texture. If the pasta is deep yellow or almost orange then I guarantee it is factory made and the color speaks to the fast drying at high temperature which basically COOKS the pasta causing caramelization (hence the color) and finally it is less nutritious and harder to digest.

    Barilla should NOT be on that list!!!

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