Pasta | History | Types | Quality | Faults | Pasta Cooking

Pasta is a type of Italian food typically made from unleavened dough of semolina flour mixed with water , eggs and formed various shapes. It is staple food of Italian cuisine.It is Italian origin dish consisting of dough made from durum wheat and water which is made into various shape and cooked in boiling water. It is a noodle traditionally made of durum wheat wheat, water or egg. 

Pasta is divided into Dried ( pasta secca) and Fresh ( pasta fresca) . Dried pasta can be stored for longer time while Fresh pasta is produced in Similarly, further talking about them -

  • Dry pasta :- It is higher in vitamins , Minerals and fiber. It is also lower in calories. Similarly, it is made from finely ground semolina flour, salt and water without egg. Dry pasta is dried at low temperature for several days unless moisture is evaporated. It can be stored at room temperature for almost long time and they become double in shape when cooked. They are best suited for hearty dishes as it allowed to hold heartiest sauce.
  • Fresh pasta :- It is locally used and made from simple dough of eggs and flour. Usually Ap flour. The dough is kneaded and and passed through rollers untill thin. Fresh pasta is best served with delicate and dairy cream sauce. The fresh pasta are smoother than dried pasta which are common in northern Italy. It is expensive than dried pasta and refrigerated as it have lower shelf life. 

Note :- Dried pasta is intended to served Al dente while fresh pasta is not intended. The term Al dente in Italian phrase means ' to the tooth ' it describes pasta cooked to be firm to bite.  We have to cook pasta just enough that it is neither hard not soft but is firm and chewy. The pasta should be tender but firm to bite. Pasta should never be mushy .

Pasta is also available as whole grain pasta and Refined pasta. Whole grain pasta is higher in vitamin , mineral and fiber and lower in calories while Refined pasta is higher in calories and lower in fiber.  

100 gram of pasta gives 131 kcal of energy . 

HISTORY OF PASTA 

Nearly every countries has its own unique version of pasta. In Germany and Hungary they have spaetzle while in Greek Orzo. Pasta is traditionally Italian and have very Ancient history. The pasta word translates to paste in Italian . This is reference to dough made from combination of flour and water or egg. All simple component they have been around for centuries. 

While today pasta is available for everyday for masses ,it was once only available for Italian nobles. A myth based on writing of 13th century explorer says Pasta was brought to Italy from china. However , it may not true because Noodles were already there in Marco Polo time. Many Italian writers have argued that tomb from fourth century B.C bears a relief of pasta making equipment suggesting the dish was being enjoyed in pre Roman Italy.

Whenever Italians migrated they have brought their pasta along . By the 1300 dried pasta was very popular for its Nutrition and for long shelf life making it ideal for long ship voyages. The big advancement in History of pasta came in 19th century when pasta met Tomatoes. An average Italians eat over 60 pound of pasta per year .

Note :- An interesting fact about tomato is that though it was discovered earlier it took long time for plant to be considered edible as there was rumour that it was poisonous in Europe. 


FAULTS IN PASTA 

1. Overcooking pasta

2. Blindly following Time on the box

3. Adding pasta to water before it boils

4. Adding too much sauce in pasta

5. Not adding salt in water during Boiling.

6. Using small pot to boil 

7. Adding too much oil during Boiling

8. Cooking pasta in a pot that is small

PASTA SHAPES



There are various types of pasta Shapes. Some basic types of pasta Shapes :-

1. Angel hair - They are very fine and have delicate strands. The cooking time ranges from 3 to 5 minute. They are thin pasta

2. Elbow macaroni - They are C - shaped tubes and the cooking time varies from 6 to 8 minutes

3. Farfalle ( Bow ties) - It look like Bow ties . Farfalle means butterfly and the cooking time varies from 10 to 12 minutes

4. Fettuccine - They are spaghetti length pasta with cooking time 10 to 12 minutes

5. Rotini - Rotini meant spiral . They are spiral shaped pasta with cooking time 8 to 10 minutes 

6. Jumbo shell - They are large shell shape with rigid exterior and big open cavity. The cooking time is 11 to 13 minutes

7. Orzo - They are pasta in shape of rice. It's cooking time is 9 to 11 minutes

8. Penne - They are small tubes 2 to 4 inch long and cut in diagonal. The cooking time Is 10 to 12 Minutes.

9. Spaghetti - They are thin , round strand pasta of 10 inch long . The cooking time is 9 to 11 minutes
Note - always add acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon in pasta which will help pasta not to stick.

BUYING AND COOKING PASTA 

When buying either fresh or dried pasta we have to look for well made brand that use best ingredients. Semolina flour is best for dried pasta . The pasta should have rough surface and not too smooth because smooth pasta will not hold sauce. The noodle should be compact and heavy for fresh pasta and should have nice colour, texture. Always check expiry date in case of fresh Pasta.

  • Never overcooked pasta it will be mushy

  • Cook pasta until it is Al dente.

  • Fresh pasta will take less time to cook

  • Use large cooking pot and plenty of  water to cook pasta it will stop pasta from sticking and helps to cook properly 

  • Don't forgot to add plenty of salt to cooking water before adding pasta. Good pasta don't have salt in it. 

  • When drawing pasta water remember to save a cup of water in pot. It will add little body to sauce , no matter whatever sauce will be choosen. 

  • Never Rinse pasta after cooking unless you are making pasta salad. Washing will end all flavour.

  • Simple pasta works best with simple sauces while complex pasta are ideal for thick sauce. 

BASIC INGREDIENTS OF MAKING PASTA

1 Beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup All purpose flour
2 tablespoon of water. 

1. In a bowl , combine Flour and salt. Make a well in flour and add beaten egg. Now mix untill a stiff dough is formed. If needed add some water


2. Now , In a surface , floured it lightly and knead 3- 4 minutes and pass through pasta machine. after passing from pasta machine cut into strips by knife or Machine. 

STORAGE OF PASTA 

1. DRIED PASTA : Well, Talking about dried pasta it does not need to be refrigerated. It can be stored in shelf in Air tight container in dry area not exposing to high temperature. It can be stored indefinitely but best served within two years or flavour , nutrients will be affected. 

2. FRESH PASTA : It can be stored in Refrigerator for 2, 3 days. For longer storage it can be frozen . Frozen pasta can be stored for 2 - 3 month. It can also be dried and placed in air tight container. 

3. COOKED PASTA : Cooked pasta can be stored unsauced in air tight container and refrigerated for 4 - 5 days. The sauce should be stored separately for 5 -7 days. Don't store pasta with sauce together otherwise pasta will soak up too much oil and flavour from sauce. 

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