All Things Pasta
Italian Pasta and Sauces
Pasta
Photo courtesy: Vicky Wasik | seriouseats.com
It's safe to say pasta has been around for a long time - it can be traced all the way back to the 13th Century. Incredibly simple yet diverse and unique, pasta is made without yeast or other raising agents (which are known as an unleavened dough). The basic makeup of most pasta consists of just a few main ingredients - flour and water or flour and eggs, depending on preference and the type of pasta you would like to make.


Pasta also varies in terms of shapes and sizes. They are sorted by long, medium length and short-cut. Long and medium-length pasta includes spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, capellini and many others. Whereas penne, farfalle, cavatelli, strozzapreti and more are categorized as short-cut pasta.

Durum WheatPhoto courtesy: indiamart.com

The basic ingredients of most dry pasta consist of ground durum wheat flour and water. Durum wheat, being high in gluten content and low in moisture, is ideal for large pasta production. The ingredients shift slightly when making fresh pasta, just swap the egg for the water. Don’t be afraid to try making fresh pasta on your own - you will be amazed by the straightforward process and results.

Making Pasta Dough

Photo courtesy: Homemade Vegan Pasta Photo © 2015 by Eva Kolenko

For those looking for plant-based options, you could opt for an eggless, dairy-free pasta by simply using 3 ingredients: flour, sparkling mineral water and olive oil. Have a go at it and let us know what your thoughts are!

There is no mystery as to why people love pasta, it’s easy, delicious and has many health benefits. Carbohydrates in pasta play an essential role in our healthy diet as the recommended consumption of this nutrient is about 45% to 60% in our total calories. Pasta is fat-free and a low sodium food that can be fit right into a weight loss and management plan.

 

Different flour types for making pasta

The art of making fresh pasta depends on the flour types. The firmness of the pasta is vital in terms of its elasticity in texture. High protein “hard” flour is high in gluten which explains firmness and elasticity. Thus, the higher the gluten composition in the flour, the more firmness and elasticity the pasta will be. Medium flour aka all-purpose flour is a good substitution of pasta-making and it is recommended to increase the duration of mixing and kneading the dough. Semolina is known as coarse durum wheat flour is durable as the hardness corresponds with its higher protein content.

 

Fresh pasta vs dry pasta

Spaghetti In The Jar

Not all pasta is created equal, but when it comes to the difference in fresh vs dry pasta, it really comes down to the sauce. The type and shape of the pasta, and whether it is fresh or dry, comes down to the sauce you would like to use.

Spaghetti Pasta

Buttery sauces work better with soft flour-and-egg pasta, whereas olive oil-based sauces go more with flour-and-water pasta. Do remember that it’s impossible to get al dente with fresh pasta. The main difference between fresh and dried pasta is the egg. There are eggs in fresh pasta and no eggs in dried pasta, hence the refrigeration in fresh pasta.

Egg In Flour

When to use fresh pasta – creamy, dairy-based sauces (alfredo or carbonara). When to use dry pasta – hearty, oil-based sauces (calabrese, aglio e olio or salsa di pomodoro).

Pro Tip - Bolognese sauce goes well with both!

Tomatoes Meatballs Spaghetti

Bon appétit - enjoy your sumptuous meal!

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