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Pasta Cooking Information Tips and Information

Pasta Cooking Information and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.


pasta info
delia smith

What is real pasta?
Originally pasta in Italy was a conception of sheer genius. It began with growing the highestquality hard wheat and the name given to this specific type of wheat was durum from the Latin meaning hard. After the pasta maker had purchased exactly the right grain the next important stage was finding the right miller to mill the grain to a certain precise specification and not to a fine powdery flour but to something called semolina which is derived from the italian for `semi milled and is quite unlike flour as semolina I is made up of tiny coarse corncoloured granules with sharp edges.
The skill of the pasta maker was to then carefully mix the semolina with cold water. Then after the mixing came the shaping and the pasta was forced through special bronze dies which gave it a specific texture. After that the pasta was dried in openwindowed lofts where either the mountain air of sea breezes or both depending on the region could circulate. This carefully monitored drying process could take up to two days. It was this natural drying process along with the specifications above that produced a quality of pasta that had captured within it all the nuttiness and flavour of the wheat grain but also a special texture. The semolina and the effect of the bronze dies produced a roughness at the edges which in its grand design would provide when cooked the right kind of surface on which the sauce being served with it would adhere and ding and not slide off. So simple so subtle and so wonderful.

Modern pasta (and clones)
What happened next was that soon everybody outside Italy wanted to eat pasta too and once this kind of mass production was underway corners were cut profit margins came into play soft flour was added hot instead of cold water there were nylon dies speededup hotair quickdrying and the whole process underwent a shift from quality to competitive price wars and then it was the sliced white here go downward spiral all over again.
But something else has crept into the frame at the same time and that is the misguided and false conception that fresh pasta is better than dried. Yes italians do make and eat a very small amount of pasta fresco but is is a different concept; one that more usually involves a filling as in ravioli or cortellini.But in this country and in America pasta fresco has gone crazy. Its now afar cry from the original described above and its a strange paradox to clone a product that has a natural shelf life of two years then make it and sell it as fresh then add something that will give it a longer shelf life and at the same time call the resulting slithery slimy gloop made with soft flour and eggs pasta.
The other modern misconception is to serve more sauce than pasta. Good pasta should be enjoyed for itself with a small amount of concentrated sauce used to merely dress it.

The case for good quality dried pasta
If you want to enjoy cooking and eating pasta at its best then my advice is to buy goodquality dried pasta. Yes it does cost more but were not talking about great luxury here; were talking about a main meal for two people that might cost 2 instead of l. The only fresh pastas I ever buy are ravioli stuffed pasta shapes or lasagne sheets which are I think of a far better quality than most of the dried packs. Once you taste quality dried pasta it will be very hard for you to return to the industrially produced alternatives. Its not just the flavour: the firm rough texture not only puts it way out in front but actually helps you to achieve that al dente (firm to the teeth) texture that is the mark of wellcooked pasta. Poor quality often ends up sticky and soggy. So when you buy your pasta make sure it says pasta di semola di grano duro (durum wheat semolina pasta). There are certain dried pastas that contain egg pasta all uovo which add richness but I now prefer the original semolina and water version and like to keep the richness confined to the sauce.
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