and all about it
What is Pasta?
Pasta is a type of noodle made from an unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water and/or eggs. This type of noodle is typically boiled and served in dishes such as lasagna and spaghetti. There are many varieties of pasta in different shapes and sizes, created to match the array of ingredients that can accompany them. Pasta has been a staple food in Italian cuisine since the 14th century, when it was first documented. It is now eaten worldwide, both alone and as part of a range of dishes.
The word ‘Pasta’ comes from the Italian verb ‘mangiare’, which means ‘to eat’. The earliest recorded evidence of pasta being made and eaten dates back to the 4th century BC. Back then it was known as ‘lagane’, a type of flat, wide noodle made by hand.
In this modern day, there are dozens of types of pasta available. Durum wheat is the preferred flour for making pasta, because its proteins and gluten (a combination of two proteins) give the dough the necessary strength and consistency to form different shapes.
Types of Pasta
Different types of pasta are created by shaping the dough into a variety of shapes. Some of the most common types are Penne, Spaghetti, Fettucine, Macaroni and Conchiglie.
Penne is short and tubular, with ridges. It can be prepared with meat, vegetables, creamy sauces, and vegetables.
Spaghetti is long, round strands of pasta which is great to combine with sauces, vegetables, seafood and cheeses.
Fettuccine is also long and also round, but even wider than spaghetti. Fettucine is often served with a cream or butter sauce, or with a vegetable or seafood dish.
Macaroni is elbow-shaped and can be used in a wide range of dishes, from baking recipes to creamy sauces.
Conchiglie are spiral-shaped hollow shells perfect to combine with heavier sauces like Bolognese or those containing minced meat.
Lasagna is flat sheets which are layered with sauces, vegetables, and cheese, then baked until golden.
The principal ingredients of pasta – durum wheat flour and water – make it a good source of carbohydrates, which are essential for fuelling the body with energy. It also provides protein, minerals and vitamins including niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. These vitamins are important for processes like cellular respiration, which helps to convert glucose into energy.
When combined with other nutrient-rich ingredients, like vegetables, pasta can become an even healthier meal. Studies have shown that eating pasta can lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help to regulate blood sugar levels. It is also low in fat and calories, making it a suitable option for those watching their weight.
Cooking pasta is a straightforward process that can be done in just a few simple steps. First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. When the water has boiled, add the pasta to the pot and stir continuously for a few minutes, then reduce the heat and let the pasta simmer until it has cooked through. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander and rinse in cold water for a few seconds, then toss with your favourite sauce or ingredients. As an alternative, some people prefer to bake their pasta dishes in the oven.
Pasta is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed any day of the week. It is packed with vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates and can be prepared quickly and easily. With dozens of shapes, sizes and flavors available, there is something to please every palate. Once you understand the basics of making pasta, you can start to get creative with your recipes and create unique dishes tailored to your own personal tastes.