New pasta to suit Aussie tastes

Posted by James Ferre on 29th September 2008

A new, brighter, deep-yellow pasta that meets Aussie tastes and cooking style will be the culinary end product of an improved durum wheat variety bred by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to be released to growers next year, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, has advised.”The new variety has been given the name Caparoi, an appropriate name derived from the Italian word capitano which means ‘leader’,” Minister Macdonald said. “I expect Caparoi to live up to its name and become a leading variety especially sought after by pasta makers as well as other users of durum wheats. Farmers will benefit from its improved agronomic performance – and consumers will love it as spaghetti or other forms of pasta.”

Mr Macdonald said pasta quality testing carried out on Caparoi by NSW DPI chemist Dr Mike Sissons at Tamworth had revealed the new variety’s key attribute was its excellent yellow pigment content which translates into a bright, clean yellow semolina and pasta product.

“It’s cooking properties are excellent. It produces a pasta that has a firm texture when cooked – one that suits the Australian palette,” Minister Macdonald noted. “Pasta from this new variety is also not sticky when cooked and there are minimum losses of starch leaching into the cooking water. For the pasta makers, there has been no compromising the dough properties of this variety – it’s strong. The high grain protein and high semolina yield will also appeal to the pasta manufacturers and millers.”

Mr Macdonald said the wheat, developed by the NSW Primary Industries in partnership with the University of Adelaide and Grains Research Development Corporation, was the first to be released by the new alliance.

“Caparoi offers farmers another excellent variety option that will be accepted as premium quality durum wheat under classifications used by the Australian Wheat Board International,” he advised. “Caparoi is a mid season semi-dwarf durum with a high level of resistance to stem rust, flag smut and yellow leaf spot – and an adequate level of resistance to leaf rust, stripe rust, stinking bunt, root lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei), common root rot, and black point. It has improved dry land grain yield over other durum varieties and has performed well under the adverse conditions experienced in recent years in trials.”

Caparoi also further extends the genetic base of Australian durum wheat varieties in an effort to provide diverse and robust varieties to Australian durum growers.

Mr Macdonald said Caparoi had an excellent lodging and shedding resistance, and was adapted to neutral and alkaline soils, but not saline or acid soils, and has the potential to perform well under irrigation.

He added that Caparoi was currently being grown out this season and should be available commercially early next year.