Fortifying white-flour pasta with fibre is the big new thing in pasta and Toronto’s Italpasta is joining the market. Fibre-fortified pasta appeals to those who want the health benefits of whole wheat without the grainy taste and rougher texture of whole wheat pasta. Their Total Pasta line is made from Canadian-grown durum wheat and fortified with inulin from chicory root.
Each 85-gram serving of Total Pasta contains 10 grams of dietary (that’s 40% of the recommended daily intake). The inulin used in the manufacturing process is derived from European-grown chicory root and is very similar to the active ingredient in Metamucil.
The Total Pasta line covers Italpasta’s four best selling shapes — spaghetti, spaghettini, penne rigate, and elbows. The distinctive orange packaging will make it easy to spot on grocery shelves. It’s being carried in grocery chains including: Longos, Loblaws, Sobeys, Highland Farms, Foodland, and some Fortino’s locations.
As part of my introduction to the product I was invited to a plant tour and media lunch hosted by Chef Massimo Capra at his restaurant, Mistura on Davenport Road. Chef Capra is the spokes-chef for Italpasta and did a thorough job of praising the new product–he made his strong dislike for whole wheat pasta plainly clear–and demonstrated how it can be used in the kitchen.
After an opening course of a green salad and deep-fried artichoke we were given one pasta dish for each of the Total offerings: Elbows My Way; Total Penne Montanara; Total Spaghetti Aglio e Olio; and Total Spaghettini Gamberi & Zucchine. It’s no surprise that with Massimo in front of the stove each was remarkably delicious.
Every geeky bone in my body was thrilled to be included on the tour of the 150,000 sq-ft. plant that has been in operation for 24 years. Six days a week, the Italpasta facility goes through 680,000 lbs of durum semolina flour that has been milled in Goderich, Ontario. Beyond all the numbers, the most interesting aspect, that Italpasta’s plant manager Riccardo Bordignon described to us, is how differently each shape of pasta needs to be treated–from different machinery to handle and cut it to varying drying times.
For a really special dinner I’d still opt for fresh pasta made from white flour but I’ve had a chance to cook with the Total products and they’re quite delicious. It’s apparent that this is going to be the growth category for pasta manufacturers and the place where flavour and health priorities intersect for consumers.