The perfect sauce is nothing if your pasta sucks. That said, not everyone has the time to make it from scratch. (For the record, fresh pasta isn’t always better.) Enter dried pasta, aka the packed pasta you find in the grocery. Unlike fresh pasta, which is made from flour, water, and eggs, dried pasta only uses the former two (and occasionally, salt). This produces a different taste and texture; and allows it to be stored at room temperature almost indefinitely. On supermarket shelves, spaghetti is one of the most common forms of dried pasta. How do the different brands compare?
Note: Pastas were prepared according to individual package instructions—sans the salted water—and were tasted without sauce.
Amigo Segurado Spaghetti
Prior to cooking, Amigo Segurado’s spaghetti was already oddly smooth, translating to a slippery cooked spaghetti. It was too thin for our liking, and tasted close to nothing.
Doña Elena Al Dente Pasta Eccelente Spaghetti
Doña Elena’s spaghetti is the most expensive of the bunch at PHP71.75 for 500g. It uses 100% durum wheat semolina “made in Italy,” and is advertised as GMO-free. Uncooked, each strand has a nice graininess to it. Once cooked, the pasta is significantly thicker. It has a great bite, and a deep flavor that’s actually quite delicious.
Ideal Gourmet Spaghetti
Ideal Gourmet’s dried spaghetti has visible white specks, giving it a slight coarseness. We suspect it comes from the wheat flour used. Comparable to Doña Elena, Ideal Gourmet’s pasta also has a deep flavor; it’s just a tad less thick and grainy. There’s a weird aftertaste though. A member of the team describes it as the taste of “an old plastic container [stored] in the pantry.”
Prima Spaghetti Classic
Prima’s spaghetti is similar to Ideal Gourmet in texture, both cooked and uncooked. The flavor is subtle, but you can tell it’s there. All-in-all, we think it’s a safe choice.
Ram Premium Spaghetti
Like Amigo Segurado, RAM’s “premium” spaghetti comes out too smooth and tasteless. It’s the cheapest of the lot at only PHP26.75 for 400g. Although we followed package instructions—we even only boiled it for 10 minutes (it says it could go up to 12)—the pasta was overcooked. That’s minus points in our book.
Royal Premium Spaghetti
Royal’s premium spaghetti has a slight grittiness. So we were surprised when the cooked pasta stuck together. The texture is generally inoffensive, but the pasta itself is bland.
We’re ashamed to say it—we were too quick to judge Sunshine’s spaghetti. We expected it to be the worst. However, once cooked, it came out al dente, with an a-plus over-all texture. It’s on the same level as Prima’s spaghetti, but at a lower price point. So we might just pick this over Prima if it’s just between the two.
White King Fiesta Firm Spaghetti
White King’s Fiesta spaghetti has the thinnest noodle. It’s very smooth—no sauce is going to stick to that. Despite being cooked al dente, it has a weird sticky quality that makes it cling onto your teeth.
The Verdict: Doña Elena
Doña Elena’s discernible graininess makes us confident that whatever sauce we make will stick to the spaghetti. Even so, its pasta is flavorful enough that we’d actually have no problem eating it alone. Call us savages, but #noregrets.