Primo grano meaning “first grain” in Italian, was an idea of pasta-maker Gianluigi Peduzzi, who wanted to bring back the flavors of authentic pasta made with 100% Abruzzo grown wheat like those that his grandfather, Gaetano Sergiacomo, made at his mill in the town of Penne at the turn of the last century.
Through a research study sponsored by Rustichella d’Abruzzo, the Istituto dei Cereali di Foggia identified local heirloom wheat varieties including San Carolo, Varano, and Mongibello, which also proved to have very high protein levels – ideal for making pasta. Every year, Rustichella d’Abruzzo and 14 farmers from the surrounding hills of Pianella do a special planting of these selected heirloom varieties. After the June harvest, the wheat is trucked immediately to a state-of-the-art mill in Puglia to be ground into semolina. The soft and fragrant semolina is used to make some of the traditional shapes made by Gaetano Sergiacomo: sagne a pezze and penne rustiche.