The Best Italian Pasta Ever: Pastificio dei Campi

The Best Italian Pasta Ever: Pastifico dei Campi and ‘guess who’s coming for dinner’

I have long been a fan of Pasta di Gragnano and a visit to the town of Gragnano near Naples was pretty high up on my bucket list! So, I was super excited to be recently invited to visit pasta makers Pastificio dei Campi, one of the companies who produce Pasta di Gragnano IGP.

pastificio dei campi pasta boxes

What is Pasta di Gragnano IGP?

Gragnano is a town close to Naples in Campania. It has been a centre of dried pasta production for about 500 years! In fact, for Italians the name Gragnano is synonymous with pasta.

Gragnano Naples

In 2013, Pasta di Gragnano was awarded an IGP certification by the European Union. This is a guarantee that the pasta is authentic, produced in a particular geographical location and made in a certain way.

paccheri coming out of pasta machine pastificio dei campi

In short, Pasta di Gragnano has to be made with durum wheat semolina and water from the Lattari mountains. In addition, the dough must be extruded through rough bronze dies and slow dried at low temperatures. It has to then be packaged within 24 hours in the place of production!

Pastificio dei Campi.

As I mentioned above, Pastificio dei Campi is one of the companies that produce Pasta di Gragnano IGP. However, in my opinion, this company goes above and beyond the standards required for IGP certification. Not only is their wheat 100% Italian, but so too is everything that goes into their product. This includes the packaging materials!

bronze pasta die
Bronze pasta die

In addition, the wheat Pastificio dei Campi uses is grown in Puglia using sustainable farming methods. They also maintain a 3 year rotation cycle to prevent soil impoverishment. By sacrificing high yields, they can ensure the quality and nutritional content of the crop.

pastificio dei campi dinning area

Finally, Pastificio dei Camp have introduced a unique tracking system with which consumers can track the production of each packet of pasta they buy. This innovative system of product traceability means you can find out everything about the pasta you are using. Through their website, you can see from when and where the wheat was sown to when the pasta was produced and packaged!

dinner at pastificio dei campi
Giuseppe Di Martino talks pasta with chef Steven Klein Nijenhuis.

Guess who’s coming for dinner?

When Pastificio dei Campi invited me to visit them, it was as a guest at their ‘guess who’s coming for dinner’ event (#indovinachivieneacena). This is a monthly dinner held at the pasta factory in collaboration with JRE (Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe). Since 2013, Pastificio dei Campi has been a top sponsor of this European association and every month a chef member of the JRE goes to Pastificio dei Campi for a pasta cooking masterclass by Michelin star chef Peppe Guida.

Peppe Guida cooking spaghetti with tomato sauce at Pastificio dei Campi
Peppe Guida cooking spaghetti with tomato sauce (La devozione)

The guest chef from JRE has the opportunity to spend an entire day at the pasta factory, learning the secrets of production and the historic tradition of Gragnano pasta, along with everything they need to know about its preparation and cooking.

Mezzani Tagliati rigati, white and purple potatoes with crunchy green beans and cacioricotta cheese (chef Peppe Guida)
Mezzani Tagliati rigati with white and purple potatoes , crunchy green beans and cacioricotta cheese (chef Peppe Guida)

In the evening, the two chefs cook together in the kitchen. They create an unforgettable meal of a series of original and delicious pasta dishes for 10-12 guests (see photos). The guest chef while we were there (yes hubby came too!) was Dutchman Steven Klein Nijenhuis, chef and owner of one star Michelin restaurant Herberg Onder de Linden in Aduard, Holland.

Linguine, lemon, anchovy sauce and pecorino cheese (chef Peppe Guida)
Linguine, lemon, anchovy sauce and pecorino cheese (chef Peppe Guida)

9 delicious Pastificio dei Campi pasta dishes.

Luckily for me, I was also able to tour the pasta factory and watch the masterclass and I have to say I learnt so much about the production of dried pasta and the science behind making and cooking it! Can’t wait to put what I learnt into practice!!

Spaghettini with lemon water and provolone del Monaco cheese (chef Peppe Guida)
Spaghettini cooked in lemon water with provolone del Monaco cheese (chef Peppe Guida)

In total, the two chefs made us  9 pasta dishes. These included a divine pasta dessert made with paccheri and fresh strawberries!  Chef Steven made two dishes and Chef Peppe Guida the other 7. 

Spaghettini, smoked courgette flowers and cacioricotta cheese (chef Peppe Guida)
Spaghettini with smoked courgette flowers and cacioricotta cheese (chef Peppe Guida)

Peppe Guida and Giuseppe Di Martino.

I was so thrilled to meet Peppe Guida. He, his recipes and his restaurant (Osteria di Nonna Rosa) have been much written about in many Italian food magazines and online media! I have heard people call him the pasta whisperer! And given the fabulous dishes he made for us, I’m not surprised. I was also so happy that he made us his well-known lemon water spaghetti, a recipe that I actually posted here on The Pasta Project a year ago.

Spaghetti with tomato sauce – La devozione (chef Peppe Guida) Pastificio dei Campi
Spaghetti with tomato sauce – La devozione (chef Peppe Guida)

Our host was Giuseppe Di Martino. Mr Di Martino has been called the guru of pasta by the Italian food site and restaurant guide Gambero Rosso. He is the managing director of 3 pasta companies, Di Martino, Antonio Amato and, of course, Pastificio dei Campi. His family have been making pasta for 3 generations and his passion for pasta is boundless. 

Vermicelli with zucchini carbonara (chef Peppe Guida)
Vermicelli with zucchini carbonara (chef Peppe Guida)

The best Italian pasta ever!

Pastificio dei Campi is definitely a feather in Giuseppe Di Martino’s cap. His vision for the company was to produce the ‘best Italian pasta ever’ using the best wheat and the best artisans. I was fortunate to be sitting next to Giuseppe at the dinner. What I admired the most about his vision for Pastificio dei Campi is the concept of producing a dried pasta that has a place on the menu in gourmet restaurants and on foodie tables.

Sardinian Gnocchetti with tomatoes, asparagus and shrimps (chef Steven)
Sardinian Gnocchetti with tomatoes, asparagus and shrimps (chef Steven)

Even in Italy, dried pasta is often considered mostly a home cooking ingredient. However, after having tasted the pasta dishes prepared by the two Michelin star chefs at the Pastificio dei Campi dinner, I’m not surprised that Pastificio dei Campi pasta is on every best Italian artisan pasta list I found online.

Mischiato Delicato oil and garlic with toasted capers, squid, fennel and chili pepper (chef Steven)
Mischiato Delicato (mixed pasta) with olive oil, garlic, toasted capers, squid, fennel and chili pepper (chef Steven)

If you’d like to try ‘the best Italian pasta ever’, look out for their distinctive red and black boxes available in US from Di Bruno Brothers, at all Central Market stores and selected Neiman Marcus stores or order online at https://www.pastificiodeicampi.it/

Paccheri with caramel reduction sauce and fresh strawberries ( dessert chef Peppe Giuda)
Paccheri with caramel reduction sauce and fresh strawberries (chef Peppe Giuda)

Disclaimer: Although I was invited to Gragnano by Pastificio dei Campi, I haven’t received any compensation for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Recipes from my visit

Spaghetti with tomato sauce (La Devozione) by Peppe Guida

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24 Comments

  • Avatar
    geoff simpson
    November 8, 2019 11:02 pm

    Loved the article about Pastificio dei Campi! I just returned fro five weeks in Umbria and am trying to find an authentic stringozzi umbrian pasta. Any suggestions?
    Thanks.

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      November 9, 2019 11:38 am

      Hi Geoff I’m glad you liked the article about Pastificio dei Campi! Very good pasta! Coincidentally I just bought some whole wheat stringozzi from this company as I’m planning some Umbrian pasta recipes, although I don’t know if they ship outside of Italy. https://www.lachiona.it/categoria-prodotto/pasta/ However, I had a look and found another company that ships Italian food products anywhere. I don’t know this brand but the fact that the stringozzi (also called strangozzi) is made with 100% Italian wheat and is bronze drawn should mean it’s good. https://ifooditalia.com/en/product/strangozzi-from-umbria/?v=cd32106bcb6d

  • Avatar
    Lathiya
    July 5, 2019 9:26 pm

    Thank you sharing your awesome experience. It’s amazing feeling to see our favorite dish to be made.

  • Avatar
    Mirlene
    July 3, 2019 12:55 pm

    It was incredibly exciting to read the story. I think I just need to go to Gragnano now! And that pasta – oh mamma mia!

  • Avatar
    Sophia
    July 1, 2019 3:35 am

    What fun to get to tour a pasta company and try all their pastas and recipes! And that dessert pasta, wow, I’ve never heard of that!! So cool!

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    July 1, 2019 3:16 am

    I definitely need to keep an eye out for Pastificio dei Campi. Pasta is one of my absolute favorite meals, and this pasta looks incredible. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Avatar
    Jenni LeBaron
    July 1, 2019 3:08 am

    What a delicious experience! I love that you were able to learn more about their process before sampling so many delicious pastas with such a great chef!

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    July 1, 2019 12:41 am

    I so wish I was there to share this experience and all that delicious pasta dishes. They all look incredible and I will now have to find this pasta over here. Great informative post dear Jacqui! Enjoyed reading it!

  • Avatar
    Jayashree T.Rao
    June 30, 2019 10:03 am

    It must have been a nice session of watching the Chefs make the pasta. It does look delicious. Thanks for taking a tour of it for us.

  • Avatar
    Jere
    June 27, 2019 5:11 am

    Wow, what a great pasta lesson you gave us. I love the certification placed upon many European products. These really means no shortcuts and cheap products are used. Every one of these pasta dishes looks fabulous, I can only imagine what they taste like. Cheers to you!!!

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 27, 2019 8:56 am

      Thank you so much Jere! I got a great pasta lesson too in Gragnano. Good quality food is so essential nowadays not only for our health but also for the environment! These pasta dishes were scrumptious! I’m still dreaming about this dinner!

    • Avatar
      Dottore Jonathan PUNT
      June 28, 2019 1:50 pm

      The lemon water recipe was really interesting, not least for the creaminess of the sauce that developed from the release of starch from the pasta. I chose to make mine using bigoi from Bassano del Grappa, partly because of the length, but also because of the thickness of the pasta. I used my deep ceramic-coated GreenPan buffet casserole to minimise any risk of the contents sticking to the bottom of the pan. I used my old wooden risotto fork which proved excellent at keeping the pasta separate as the process evolved. I would certainly recommend using a dolce provolone to balance the slight bitterness derived from the pith of the lemons.

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    June 26, 2019 11:32 pm

    A tour of a pasta facility sounds dreamy. I’m excited to look for this pasta here in Texas and make one of your yummy recipes with it.

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 27, 2019 8:58 am

      We really enjoyed the tour Kelly, so interesting! This pasta is fantastic. I hope you’re able to find it and try it!

  • Avatar
    Emily
    June 26, 2019 4:26 pm

    I’ve never tried Pasta di Gragnano IGP. before, but now I really want to. Where can I buy it in the US? Can I order it on Amazon?

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 27, 2019 9:03 am

      Hi Emily, I’m sure you’ll be impressed with how good Pasta di Gragnano is. There are a number of companies that make it. Yes you can find some brands on Amazon and also at Eataly. At the end of my post, there’s a list of places Pastificio dei Campi pasta is sold in US.

  • Avatar
    Simone
    June 23, 2019 12:05 pm

    I’m going to have to look for this pasta, as I trust your judgement! That evening you spent having those chefs cook for you sounds amazing, wish I was there 🙂

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 27, 2019 9:27 am

      I’m sure you will be so impressed with Pastificio dei Campi pasta Simone! Yes the dinner was fabulous! I’m sure you would have loved it!

  • Avatar
    Aimee DiPasquale
    June 23, 2019 12:19 am

    I don’t think that brand is sold by me but my sister is moving to las vegas. I’ll have to ask her if its sold there. They have all the good stuff out west lol.

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 23, 2019 9:56 am

      Hi Aimee, pastificio dei Campi pasta is definitely worth getting hold of. I know it’s available in the US. There’s a list of a few places you can find it at the end of the post.

  • Avatar
    Allyson
    June 22, 2019 6:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! As someone who cannot eat gluten products in the US, I’m always on the lookout for quality, authentic pasta from Italy. Evidently I can eat those with no issues…lucky me! Hopefully I can track this down.

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 23, 2019 11:39 am

      I do hope you find this Pastificio dei Campi pasta Allyson, it’s the best quality you can get. You may also want to try Italian gluten free pasta. A number of very good Italian pasta companies are making that too!

  • Avatar
    Felix Achenbach
    June 21, 2019 7:37 pm

    absolutely fabulous as always! are there any recipes available for the pasta in photos? I was lucky to find the Pastificio brand in USA. Pricey but I will order it. Thank you for all your help.
    I will include some ideas on my blog http://www.historiasparacocinar.com

    • Jacqui
      Jacqui
      June 27, 2019 9:30 am

      Thanks for your comment Felix! I love this pasta and I’m sure you will too! Definitely worth spending a bit more on! There are 2 recipes from the dinner on my site. The lemon water spaghetti and the spaghetti with tomato sauce (la devozione) both are amazing!

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