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I cook pasta several times a week, and use De Cecco almost every time. The only meals I wouldn't use it for are when I'm making something extra special with artisanal pasta or a big batch of pasta salad to take to work, when a cheaper brand will do. For everyday eating it has to be De Cecco due to its flavour and texture. The surface on cheaper brands often doesn't hold sauces so well as the shapes are smoother. De Cecco pasta has the right rough surface for holding dressings. If it's cooked al dente, then the pasta holds its shape well. In the case of fusilli, I've found one of the best recipes is to make a tuna sauce. The shape of the pasta is perfect with the texture, whether it's creamy, tomato-flavoured or neither. In fact, I quite enjoy some well-seasoned De Cecco fusilli with some herbs, oil and tuna. This pasta is good enough in itself to be enjoyed with a very simple dressing. This fusilli is extremely easy to cook as I've found that the timing - 12 minutes - on the packet is exactly perfect for an al dente dish. If you aren't sure, though, just test a piece a minute or so before your kitchen timer goes off. Cook in plenty of water and stir a minute or so after adding to the boiling water, and you won't need to add any oil to prevent sticking. De Cecco is slightly more expensive than brands like Napolina and quite a bit more than supermarket own brands (which I find fine for salads that may be eaten the next day and therefore not at thir best), so it's worth looking out for supermarket offers. Both Sainsbury's and Tesco have periodic offers on the most popular shapes - including fusilli - and I've seen it discounted at Wilkinson too.
The De Cecco range of pasta has been on special offer in Tesco and because I'm not mad keen on mega cheap pasta I thought I'd give it a try while you could still buy 2 packs for £2.00, the normal price is £1.49 a pack so that's a decent saving I think. It's made of durum wheat semolina and this Fusilli is a wicked spiral shape and is like a spring not just curled round on itself like the cheap Fusilli brands. Before it's cooked it's a lovely yellow colour and looks proper nice and after you've cooked the pasta it stays the same sort of colour and I think it looks like brill quality pasta. I cooked it in boiling water for about 10 mins and the Fusilli comes out with a nice bite to it but is still nice and soft to eat. The spirals pick the sauce up good and I think this pasta is specially nice with a chunky tomato pasta sauce because the chunks will get caught in the spirals so you get a delish texture and taste. I've had it plain as well with just a bit of salt on the pasta and it's delish like that too. The taste of pasta is hard to describe but this is deffo a good one, it hasn't got a watery flavour or anything and tastes lovely and wheaty. I like the flavour it because it's strong but deffo doesn't overpower any sauce you add to the pasta, we'd run out of spaghetti the other night so I used this with the Bolognese for a change and it was yummy. The spiral pasta collected the mince and sauce and it wasn't such an effort to eat as spaghetti actually! lol The Fusilli has got a wicked texture because when you drain the water off it doesn't stick together and is nice and moist but without feeling soggy or anything. Recommended... try it while it's still on offer with one of the other De Cecco pastas because it's delish and well worth the extra money compared to Tesco own twirly pasta I reckon!!!
If you have read my De Cecco linguine review, you will know I have avoided pasta for most of the last 15 years as it tended to trigger my IBS and I would be in agony for about four hours after eating pasta dishes. Mr Norton likes cooking pasta, so we have been using the trial and error approach of trying brands of dried pasta to see if I can actually eat any of them without being in loads of pain afterwards. Since finding De Cecco which is NOT a gluten free/ specially designed IBS pasta I must add- it is just an authentic italian made pasta brand, I have had no problems in terms of stomach pains after I have eaten this. As well as buying linguine made by De Cecco, we buy Fusilli too at a rate of one pack per month and usually use up the entire pack in pasta dishes such as a bolognese serves with fusilli instead of pasta or just something thrown together with cooked vegetables and a tomato based sauce. De Cecco, as previously detailed in my other review (i'm not going to copy it word for word as I hate cut and pasted reviews!) have stuck to the same pasta recipe since 1886. They have a website and sell their dried pastas and pasta flours etc online. They have loads of types of pasta including specific pasta designed for broths/ soups for sale (I did not even know these types existed!). Similarly with fusilli- it is just pasta twirls but it is very very different to the buitoni pasta twirls I have tried in the past. Or worse- the 20p value pasta twirls that look are a translucent golden syrup colour. The De Cecco Fusilli is cooked exactly the same as any dried pasta- 12 minutes cooking time in your usual pan of salted boiling water with a drop of oil. Nutritionally: Per 100g 346 calories 1.5g fat (0.3g saturates) This fusilli, as with the linguini, is a semolina based dried pasta. It looks paler in colour (milkshake like and not translucent like cheap pastas can be) than other dried pastas and when cooked the major stand out difference for me with the fusilli is it is actually like miniature springs. If you hold a piece of this cooked fusilli by the end, the other end will flop right over and you can actually stretch it and make it bounce around (I know you shouldn't play with your food, but this is very bouncy for what I thought was just a basic pasta twirl- it seems fusilli has more to its repertoire than just looking swirly). This happens even when you cook it 'al dente'- (my fusilli was not bouncy as it was cooked to within an inch of its life). It is just a whole new small swirly pasta experience when you eat this. The sproingy quality (for lack of a better description) means it holds the sauce better than other dried pasta twirls I have bought and it is easier to eat as it does curl/ flop around on your fork (this is quite hard to explain, you really have to try some). The De Cecco website gives this very detailed description/ measurements of its fusilli: "They have a spiral shape with a 10 mm diameter,a 41 mm average length,and a thickness between 1,35 and 1,48 mm" It is the same price as the linguine at £1.79 for a large 500g pack. you can taste the quality with this and it just tastes less floury and lighter than other pastas I have tried over the years. It is currently sold as far as I have seen in both Tesco and Sainsburies. I would really recommend De Cecco, if you normally buy pasta twirls try this fusilli- if you only buy spaghetti- try the linguine as it is really worth a try both taste wise (it tastes less slimy and more refined than other pasta) and it looks fantastic.