Pasta is the simplest of Italian foods. It is the most widely known and can be found all over the world. But it is easy to go wrong with it and to end up with a soggy uninspiring mess.
As with all the most basic foods the key to cooking good pasta is to choose good quality ingredients. The simpler the food the more important quality becomes. Poor quality can be less easily disguised in a simple pasta dish than in something more elaborate.
Good quality pasta is made from durum wheat. Many people swear by fresh pasta rather than dried. They feel that fresh pasta must be more authentic than dried. But in Italy cooks will often choose dried pasta for preference. A good quality dried pasta made from durum what is always preferable to a poor quality fresh pasta.
What you are looking for is a dried pasta made with 100 per cent durum wheat and preferably made by an Italian company according to traditional methods. Avoid supermarket own brands and other cheaper substitutes. Only the real thing will do.