Penne Rustiche, literally "rustic penne", is a short, ridged quill that holds sauce beautifully. Rustichella d'Abruzzo's PrimoGrano Penne Rustiche would be great served with a very light pesto (easier still, a simple puree of basil, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts), along with some blanched spring vegetables.
There aren't many folks who can tell us what pasta used to taste like in Italy. It's not something most grandparents pass along to their grandkids. If you're family business is pasta though, this is vital information.
Gianluigi Peduzzi's grandfather started the company in 1924 and the pasta they made back then had a lot in common with what you'll find today inside the brown bag of Rustichella d'Abruzzo. But one thing that Gaetano didn't have was modern agriculture. Crops were inconsistent and yields were low. Protein counts in the wheat were erratic and the finished product was often very different from the season before. The varieties of wheat he used to make pasta were summer varieties - very different from the hearty, winter-strengthened varieties now ubiquitous in pasta production. But the common thread between the past and present is the production method - the best semolina flour blended with mountain spring water, extruded through bronze dies and allowed to dry at low temperatures for a long time.
So when Gianluigi Peduzzi began partnering with local farmers in Abruzzo to resuscitate some of these nearly-extinct types of wheat - Mongibello, Varano and San Carlo - to produce pasta like his grandfather used to, we knew the results would be spectacular.
And so PrimoGrano from Rustichella d'Abruzzo was born. The typical cuts from Abruzzo, all made with locally-grown heirloom varieties of summer wheat. The pasta has a soft, yeasty flavor and a delicate texture. PrimoGrano is best served with light sauces or extra virgin olive oil so not to overwhelm the delicate aroma and flavor.