For someone who prides herself on feeding two people for £20 per week, I’m a terrible food snob. I’ll happy eat from economy tins; in my book, however, certain foodstuffs are above compromise. One of these is pasta. I don’t like eating any brand other than De Cecco, which is made using bronze drawplates and is slowly dried (see: told you I was a terrible snob). Until fairly recently, it was the only pasta I would buy. It’s thicker and takes a little longer to cook, but it holds its shape and texture and doesn’t turn to sludge like other, cheaper brands. I know it’s just wheat and water but the sad truth is, when I was in a supermarket in Italy and discovered an aisle stacked with De Cecco end-to-end, I practically wet myself with excitement. When its penne and fusilli began turning up in British supermarkets, there was no turning back.
Of course, soaring wheat prices have pushed the cost of pasta skywards in recent months. Sadly, those gleaming De Cecco packets are now guaranteed to kick my food budget to the kerb. I could get round it – just – when De Cecco was £0.99 per packet. Now it’s £1.45 and counting, I’ve had to downgrade. I’ve even started buying the £0.19 value range packets from Sainsburys: they don’t taste half as nice as my preferred brand, but I’ve found that there is really very little difference between the value range pasta and the slightly posher supermarket version.
I will confess that my heart jumped for joy when, mooching around Sainsburys this afternoon, I found that the tortiglione is on special offer. It is reduced from £1.45 to £1.11. I’m grabbing it while it lasts: even Miss Thrifty is allowed special treats once in a while.