ITALIAN PIZZICHI DI FARRO – Gianluigi Peduzzi of Rustichella d’Abruzzo works alongside a group of local farmers who cultivate farro of the local variety (known as farro vestino) over just 50 hectares between Penne and the Gran Sasso, the highest peak of the Apennines, an area partially protected by the Riserva Naturale Regionale Lago di Penne, a World Wildlife Fund reserve.
Farro thrives in this stony, well-drained soil—without the use of fertilizers. The yield of over 100 tons of farro of the local variety known as farro vestino is then used for producing the flour for making Rustichella d’Abruzzo farro pasta as well as farro polenta.
Prior to milling, the grains are sifted and sorted through an advanced selection process, separating the whole ones of the finest quality. Farro grains with their shiny reddish-brown color, pointy ends and very sharp texture, are processed for husking and pearling, removing the outer hard husk but leaving much of the bran intact.
The resulting pasta has a dark brown color and because of its lower gluten content, it is more fragile than conventional pasta. For best results, boil in abundant salted water and refrain from stirring during the first 30 seconds of cooking. Gently fold the pasta from then on, but avoid over-manipulating to avoid breakage. Farro pasta is ideal with olive oil based sauces using mushrooms, hearty vegetables or game.
FAMILY SIZE – ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE WITH BASIL – Tomato and Basil is a perfect pairing for any pasta. In addition to tomato pulp (88%) and extra virgin olive oil, a whisper of basil and onion deliver complexity to the deep tomato flavor. Wonderful in lasagna.
We have been very lucky to share many wonderful meals at home with the Peduzzi family, owners of Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta. Spending time in the kitchen with Nicolina Peduzzi, Gianlugi and Stefania’s mother, is a privilege and a wonderful learning experience. As Nicolina prepares the perfect sauce for a particular shape of pasta, one can’t help but notice the incredible quality of her ingredients. Her sauces are simple and made with produce from the family farm near Moscufo, on the Vestini hills overlooking the Adriatic Sea to the East and the great Apennine Mountains to the West.
The Rustichella d’Abruzzo sauces are made with high-quality ingredients such as those Nicolina uses at home in Pianella. Vine tomatoes picked at perfect ripeness, as well as the finest extra virgin olive oil from Abruzzo, set these sauces into a category of their own. Nicolina’s secret magic touch can be tasted in each one of the jars. Is it the ripeness of the tomato that makes these sauces so sweet? Is it the amount of extra virgin olive oil and Sicilian sea-salt that make them so perfect to use on other dishes, not just pasta? These sauces are ideal to use when making a chicken cacciatore, spaghetti or as a base for stew.
Either heat before serving, or just mix in with the cooked pasta.