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In theory all areas use the very hard durum wheat, but Italian labelling is not always as accurate as it might be; a recent BBC scientific analysis showed that none of the supermarket "own branded" pastas were 100% durum wheat - although all were clearly marked as such. Anything less than pure durum tends to become sticky when cooked, so cooking it "al dent" is virtually impossible.

Names change around the country - for example, what is called spaghetti in the middle of Italy, becomes vermicelli in the south and bigoli in the Venice region.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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