FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, U.S. — Twenty-six participants from 14 pasta manufacturing companies in the U.S. and Guatemala completed the Pasta Production and Technology Short Course last week at Northern Crops Institute (NCI), Fargo, North Dakota, U.S. The course, which ran from April 12 to 14, is designed to showcase the high quality durum wheat that is produced in this region.

“This course is a never-fail offering for NCI,” says NCI Interim Director John Crabtree, who coordinates the educational courses. “We have presented it for 27 years. The fact that it usually fills to capacity is testimony to the quality of faculty and facilities that the participants experience.”

“Over the years, we have expanded our hands-on experience in the pasta laboratory. We can do all the lectures in the world, but the best learning experience is to both show and tell participants. When they can physically test the flour and semolina, handle the freshly extruded pasta, and taste the finished product, that is the most convincing part of the whole process,” said Crabtree.

Course faculty and technicians for the pasta course are: Rachel Brudvik, NCI Food Technologist; Gabriele Cannata, De Mari Pasta Dies USA: Michael Ehr, Buhler, Inc.; Alexis Freier and Radwan Ibrahim, Ph.D., Dakota Growers Pasta Company; Thunyaporn Jeradechachai, NCI Crop Quality Specialist; Frank Manthey, Ph.D., NDSU Professor of Plant Sciences; Rilie Morgan, NCI Processing Specialist; Brian Sorenson, Dakota Specialty Milling; and Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director. The class also toured the Philadelphia Macaroni Company in Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.

A second pasta short course, Pasta: Raw Materials and Processing Technology, will be offered Aug. 8-12.

Pasta short course topics include durum varieties, quality evaluation, durum milling and semolina quality, wheat quality tests, functional and alternative pasta ingredients, semolina physical and rheological tests, commercial pasta production, impact of protein and starch on pasta quality, pasta die design, die management and measurement, pasta drying technology, equipment options for pasta extrusion, pasta color and cooking evaluation, quality assurance, specialty pasta technology, whole and multi-grains in pasta, and causes and solutions of pasta defects.