Pasta products have many different types that require slightly different production methods. However, the main ingredients for all of them are: durum wheat semolina, and water. Some pasta contains eggs but the cheaper dried pasta in shops is limkely to contain wheat only. If it matters, for example if you're a vegan or a vegetarian who tries to avoid eggs check the label on the packet. The reason why durum wheat is used in pasta production comes from the fact that the grain of the durum wheat is hard but also rich in gluten content which provides elasticity to the dough. Spaghetti, noodles, macaroni and vermicelli – they all contain these basic raw ingredients. An interesting thing concerning pasta production in some countries is that only the above-mentioned ingredients are allowed to be used for pasta production. Countries like Greece, Germany and even Italy have strict legal regulations regarding this aspect of production. Of course, herbs and sauces may be added later.
There are a few characteristics that you should look for when selecting pasta. It should be fresh, created in an artisanal way and, if possible homemade. Fresh pasta cooks twice as fast dried pasta. Smaller pasta sizes also help reduce cooking time. Most of the pastas are designed to trap sauce and hold it. However, delicate pasta types will not go well with chunky sauces. In order to select the most appropriate pasta shape you also have to decide, before hand, what kind of sauce you will use for it. Larger pasta that is shaped in intricate patterns might take longer to cook, so make sure you have enough time to create the meal.
Of course wholemeal pasta is much healthier than pasta made with white flour.
- Fresh pasta
- Dried pasta
- Pasta shapes
If you are trying to make some home pasta, you should realize that this experience will be more satisfying than buying pasta from a store. Here is what you need for a 4-6 person pasta meal: A pound of fine white flour (grade 00 for Italian flour, or American bread flour – it will make your pasta firmer). 4 eggs (increase the number of yolks and reduce the quantity of whites proportionally to make richer pasta) A good pinch of salt
When cooking it, use salted boiling water – it should be cooked in about 5-8 minutes, depending on its freshness (homemade pasta will cook in as little as 3 minutes). Overcooked pasta becomes flabby, so make sure to pay attention to it at all times.
Special equipment for pasta
Pasta machines are a great tool that will reduce the time you invest in making pasta. You can go for a hand operated machine that clamps to a work surface (table). You manually crank the dough through rollers until you get the pasta thinness you were after. A bit limited in pasta type production, hand operated pasta machines will still produce the most popular pasta types: spaghetti, taglierini, and lasagna. The main disadvantage with such machines is that you need to prepare the dough yourself.
Motorized pasta machines don’t require you to prepare the dough – simply poor in the ingredients and the machine will handle the rest. You can choose different nozzles and make cylindrical types of pasta such as penne. Attachments for making other pasta types are also available.
- Leek, Savoy & Smoked Cheese Pasta, 43p A cheap, easy to cook dish