October is National Pasta Month – a time to enjoy a new or favorite pasta dish to celebrate the simple goodness of pasta. While most of us enjoy pasta, many may not be aware that the main ingredient in that perfect pasta dish starts right here in North Dakota! Pasta is made using two basic ingredients – water and semolina. Semolina is produced by milling durum, of which North Dakota is the top producer in the country. Given that North Dakota produces a lot of durum, there’s a good chance the pasta on your plate started in the durum fields of North Dakota.
On average, North Dakota durum producers grow about 40 million bushels of durum, enough for 1.7 billion pounds of pasta! A good share of our production is processed in-state at one of these facilities: Minot Milling, a division of Philadelphia Macaroni located in Minot, N.D.; Dakota Growers Pasta Company located in Carrington, N.D.; and the North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks. North Dakota durum is also sent out of state to mills throughout the United States, and to customers around the world. Generally, about two-thirds of U.S. production is used domestically and the remainder is exported. This past year our top five durum export markets were Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Japan and Guatemala.
Pasta is a much-loved food in the U.S. and around the world. Each year the average American consumes about 20 pounds of pasta and while consumer research indicates that spaghetti is the favorite pasta meal, there are endless pasta meal options with over 600 pasta shapes and countless types of sauces to choose from. The North Dakota Wheat Commission encourages you to enjoy your favorite pasta dish, or try out a new recipe to celebrate Pasta Month.
To help celebrate Pasta Month and educate consumers on the importance of durum and pasta production, the Commission will be partnering with statewide media to provide durum and pasta facts and trivia. Participating newspapers and radio stations will provide opportunities for readers and listeners to win a pasta prize package.
Celebrate pasta month by learning more about our state’s durum and pasta production and make one of your favorite pasta dishes. For great pasta cooking tips and recipes, visit www.sharethepasta.org and for more information on pasta month, visit www.ndwheat.com. The Wheat Commission would like to thank our dedicated Pasta Month sponsors: Dakota Growers Pasta and the U.S. Durum Growers.