The Oldest Pasta Producers in the World Share The Secrets to Pasta Perfection
A bowl of sunny yellow pasta pillows, enclosing a rich, fresh and flavoursome filling within its folds, strewn with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and glistening with the sheen of melted butter is surely one of life’s most satisfyingly simple pleasures, and if you’re going to indulge in a plateful of Italy’s most famous export than who better to look to than one of the oldest pasta producers in the world, Bertagni.
In Bologna, the acknowledged birthplace of tortellini, founder Luigi Bertagni opened a shop in 1882, over 130 years ago, explains Paola Modin, Export Manager at the longstanding pasta producer.
Still made according to the same regional recipes, today Bertagni pasta is available in chilled aisles of grocers and fine food stores in over 45 countries, across five continents and internationally upheld as makers of the smoothest fresh pasta and freshest stuffed ravioli and tortellini, available in a total of 15 shapes and sizes.
Their success is down to sticking to the of fundamentals of Italian cooking; simple recipes, quality ingredients, cooking techniques and passion.
Using “ingredients you could find in a normal kitchen” only, Paola assures me, Bertagni pasta is still simply made with “OO” soft wheat flour, up to 32% fresh eggs, no added water and just a pinch of semolina.
The choice of their soft fillings are based on the iconic P.D.O ingredients of the region, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Parma Ham, and other classic Italian ingredient combinations – gently mixed by hand in small batches to preserve taste and texture.
While traditional flavours and varieties are their speciality Paola says they are continuously innovating, experimenting with new organic and vegan products and alternative flours.
Working with the pasta producer for over five years now, Paola explains that although her formal title is Export Manager as Bertagni is a private label producer she likens her role more to that of a “Neapolitan tailor,” working with their customers just as a tailor would to fine tune and fit the products to their specific needs.
Paola’s very first project was with Simply Better, the artisan food producer range available exclusively at Dunnes Stores. “I am very attached to the Simply Better brand as I took my first steps in this role with them.”
On working with the Simply Better team Paola says:
“We share the same principles of the Simply Better brand, respecting authenticity and P.D.O ingredients and upholding tradition and exceptional quality.”
The view that the partnership is one made in pasta heaven is obviously mutual, speaking to Daragh Lawless, Simply Better Marketing & Design Brand Manager, he shared similar comments:
We are delighted to work with Bertagni who produce our delicious range of Italian filled pastas. Bertagni source only the highest quality ingredients for our Simply Better pasta including Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano and the classic Italian N’duja sausage.”
“Our brand ambassador, Neven Maguire, travelled to Italy earlier this year to meet the team from Bertagni and learn more about these delicious products.”
“He was excited to discover more about how our PLMA award winning Italian Burrata and N’duja Mezzelune is produced and was inspired to create a recipe for our latest Italian COOK with Neven Maguire magazine using our Great Taste Award winning Italian Buffalo Milk Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli.”
“We have recently added two new fresh pasta lines to our Italian Collection, our Italian Chanterelle and Ricotta Cappellacci and our Italian Girasoli with Basil Pesto and Parmigiano Reggiano, we hope our customers will love them as much as we do.”
Available in two flavours, traditional Maltagliati pasta also makes an appearance in the collection, the variety originally made from long pasta off cuts and now a typical product to the Emilia-Romagna region.
The carefully curated selection of pastas has been a hit with Irish shoppers, and with of course with Neven too, who in a recent interview with TheTaste revealed the Bertagni range to be at the top of the list of favourite products from the Simply Better Italian Collection.
In keeping with the famed simplicity of Italian cuisine, the fresh filled pastas are simple to prepare, ensuring an authentic Italian meal on the table in minutes.
“The simpler the better!” enthuses Paola when sharing the best way to cook their products.
“The hero is the filling so we suggest to cook the pasta in boiling water for four to five minutes and then serve with olive oil or melted butter, and a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano” – bellissimo!
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.