Pasta is pasta, right? Wrong. There’s a lot more to choosing pasta than deciding between penne or fusilli.

The origin of the flour. The choice of cutter or die. The length of time it it’s allowed to dry. Every single step has a big impact on the final taste, texture and ability to hold a sauce. And that’s before we even get into which shape goes with which recipe.

We’ve searched Italy for the finest regional producers making pasta as it should be. Gentle rolling, ideally by hand, goes easy on the dough to give it a perfect texture. Bronze dies shape the pasta and give it a rough surface to hold the sauce. Slow drying preserves the colour and flavour and makes it easier to digest.

Artisan pasta is no marketing hype. Those in the know have always looked to specialist producers for top quality products. Delia Smith sings the praises of Martelli, and always uses their pasta at her cookery schools. Despite being a regional producer, Rustichella have fans all over the world, and their pasta has even been served in The White House. And the holy grail of small-batch, hand-made egg pasta is the range by Pasta di Aldo – loved by both Michelin starred chefs and enthusiastic home cooks.