The world is exceedingly familiar with Pasta, the staple food of Italy. The neutral taste of Pasta that is customizable with a variety of sauces, vegetables, meat and seafood, according to one’s liking and taste, is what has made it a favourite of many, regardless of the difference in food cultures. It is also a versatile food that can be served either as a salad, appetizer, main course or even as a dessert.
Pasta comes in an array of different shapes and sizes that could be used for making a variety of pasta dishes. There are more than 600 different pasta types available for selection. Macaroni, Fettuccine, Rigatoni, Shells, Spaghetti etc. are some of the most popular names of pasta that are used for cooking. The sauces used are also different for each variety.
Pasta could be either dry or fresh, depending on whether it is store bought or freshly rolled out and handmade. Fresh pasta is made from the dough of flour and eggs, while dried pasta is made from fine semolina flour and water, and then dried under very low temperature for several days to make sure all the moisture is evaporated to increase its shelf life.
When it comes to pasta there is no such thing as one is better than the other. Both the dried and fresh ones hold their own substance. Fresh pasta is very tender in texture and takes only about half the time of dry pasta to get cooked. It goes well with delicate cream based sauces, dishes with stuffing like ravioli or tortellini, where the other flavours do not overpower the tender and fresh taste of the pasta.
On the other hand, dried pasta has a firm structure as compared to the fresh one. It is best suited for casseroles, soups, salads etc. and is used with strong sauces like Marinara or Puttanesca, as it holds its form well with other ingredients and the pasta by itself does not have any flavour of its own.
In the market, you will find all kinds of dried pasta on the shelves ranging from high quality to the cheaper ones. Make sure you buy one from a good brand with ingredients not more than flour, water and salt listed on it. There are many brands which come with preservatives that can be avoided if chosen with a little care. Pasta is traditionally made of wheat flour, but nowadays, gluten-free varieties are also available for the health conscious people and for those with allergies.
In whichever way you choose to have your pasta dished out, humdrum and monotonous are words that can never be used to serve up your plate!