Why is durum semolina the best for pasta?

Durum wheat grain

High quality pasta starts with quality ingredients. Since there are not many ingredients in pasta, often just one, it had better be the highest quality ingredient possible. That is why we make our pasta with the best durum semolina we can find. It just so happens that some of the best durum semolina is found right here in Alberta. But what is durum semolina and why is it the best ingredient for pasta? Read on.

What is Durum Semolina? 

Stalks of durum wheat

Durum semolina is a product of durum wheat. Durum wheat, as the name implies, is a hard type of wheat, and that means just what it says. Durum wheat is so hard it is difficult to mill the starchy endosperm into a fine flour. Instead, after the initial milling, the flour that is produced has a texture more like cornmeal. This is called durum semolina, and is ideal for pasta. Typically, the endosperm is separated from the hull and germ of the grain and just the endosperm is milled. It is also possible to keep all the components, resulting in a whole-grain durum semolina.

This process also produces a fine powder as a by-product and this is called durum flour. The durum grain can also be double-milled to produce this durum flour. Durum flour is great for softer-type noodles and some types of artisan bread that do not require the elasticity of a high-rising flour. Again, durum flour can either be refined or whole grain.

Why is Durum Semolina used for pasta?

Milling durum semolina

So why is durum semolina so prized for pasta making? A few reasons, the main one being that the gluten in durum semolina is strong but not particularly elastic. Pasta made from this type of flour will keep its shape and the prized “al dente” texture after cooking.

Taste is another key factor: durum semolina has a delicious nutty flavour with an earthy aroma. And finally, aesthetics: durum semolina is a rich golden colour, adding to the happy feeling of quality of this pasta and meals made with it. Quality pasta made with durum semolina awakens all the senses for a total immersive experience!

And it’s healthy to boot! Durum semolina is high in protein (the gluten component), fiber, iron, B vitamins such as folic acid (important in pregnancy) as well as lutein (for eyes). The golden colour of durum semolina comes from its high flavonoid content. Durum semolina also has a low glycemic index due to its high resistant starch content, making it a wise food choice suitable for diabetics and anybody concerned with general health and reducing their cancer risk.

Locally Grown Durum wheat 

A field of durum wheat

Canada is the largest producer of durum wheat in the world and a major exporter. Canadian durum wheat is known worldwide for its quality. It just so happens that the Let’s Pasta factory is located in one of the Canadian provinces where some of the highest-quality durum wheat is grown. Alberta’s hot dry summers and light brown soil make it perfect for growing premium durum wheat. And within this context, here at Let’s Pasta, we seek out the best of the best durum semolina for our pasta.

The best of the best is durum semolina made from our locally grown durum wheat produced by farmers that we know, and that practice sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is a holistic approach to growing food that is intimately concerned with the health of the land, the farmers and the community.

Simply put, the great taste, texture, colour and health benefits of durum semolina depend on the health of the soil and sustainable agriculture methods nurture the soil for the very highest quality. Freshness is also key. The taste and health qualities of any grain product degrade over time. Our grain is grown and milled into durum semolina right near our pasta factory. It can’t get any fresher than that.

Let’s Pasta: Made From Premium Durum Semolina

Packages of Let's Pasta

So there you have it: great pasta starts with the best quality ingredients. Durum semolina is the very best ingredient for making pasta, and Alberta’s sustainable agriculture community makes some of the best durum semolina in the world. We are truly blessed to have access to this, and to be able to bring this quality product to you.