Don’t you get confused when you see several different types of pastas, lining the shelves of departmental stores? Well, I certainly do. So I did what I do best, learn. Like any other science, cooking requires a detailed study. So, here I am, sharing everything you need to know about “Pasta”.
Pasta is the generic Italian name for many noodle-like pastes or dough that are made into a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Unlike what most of us think, pasta is not a 2 minutes noodle and doesn’t always come dry in a packet. The two main types are fresh pasta or pasta fresca and dried pasta or pasta secca. Italians don’t compare them and one is not considered better than the other. They are simply different and the choice between fresh and dried pasta is really a matter of personal taste. Though, both the types are cooked till the time pasta is still firm to bite i.e. al dente.
Fresh homemade pasta is usually made from plain white flour using water, milk or eggs as the liquid component. Because it contains eggs and additional water, fresh pasta is tender than its dried counterpart and takes about half the time to cook. Though the process is a bit time consuming, some people prefer it because cooking your own pasta is, well exotic and has a more personal involvement. Also, keep in mind that fresh pastas do not expand in size after cooking so ensure you cook the exact quantity you want to serve.
Dried pasta is also sometimes referred to as factory-made pasta. It tastes more substantial than fresh pasta, and because a wide range of flours can be used, flavours vary. Dried pastas use semolina flour which is made from nutritious durum wheat. Once it is cooked, the dried pasta will usually increase in size by double of its original proportion. Dried pasta is easily available, lasts longer in the pantry, and is more economical. Plus, it is a quick fix to a tasty and satisfyingmeal.
Different shapes of Pasta
There are far too many varieties of pasta that can be counted or fit in this article for that matter. So, well, the most popular ones which you are likely to come across include Penne, Spaghetti, Fusilli, Lasagna, Macroni, Farfalle, Conchiglie, Rigatoni, Cannelloni and Fettuccine amongst others.
When pasta meets Sauce
There is a reason why pasta exists in so many different forms. It’s partly regional (most Italian cities seem to have a specialty pasta), but also practical. So, while certain pastas are best eaten with certain specific sauces, others work well with wide varieties of sauces, for instance, farfalle also known as the workhorse pasta. Therefore, it is important to be careful about the type of pasta used to match your sauce. In general, long dried pasta strands like spaghetti are matched with thin sauces and thicker pasta tubes and chunky shells are paired with heavier meat sauces or vegetable pieces.
It’s like if the chemistry is right between a couple there is a better chance of the relationship being a success.