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  1. Pasta • Buying, cooking, and nutrition

  2. The Basics of Pasta • made from flour and water–Italian for “paste” • durum wheat is especially grown for pasta because it holds its shape and texture when cooked • durum wheat makes semolina flour which has the characteristic yellow color and nutty taste associated with pasta • hundreds of different shapes and sizes

  3. Macaroni Products • made from durum wheat flour (semolina) and water • have a more solid texture so can withstand more cooking • the most common of what we call “pasta”

  4. Noodles • have eggs or egg solids added for tenderness • softer texture in foods • not as stable when cooked for a long period of time • not as firm–good for soups and some casseroles but limited use

  5. Buying Pasta • try to match the recipe exactly or find a close substitute • fresh–higher quality but shorter shelf life and must refrigerate • dried–less expensive and can be stored in an air-tight container for a long time

  6. Shapes and Sizes • pasta dough is rolled thin and then shaped to match its end use • smooth sauces or those with small pieces of food work best with long, fl at shapes where the sauce is placed over the pasta; think spaghetti! • large, hollow shapes are best for stuffing with meat, sauce, and cheese and baked in a sauce; think manicotti! • match your pasta to its end use

  7. “Designer Pastas” • pasta is becoming trendy in some areas • different shapes and flavors are now available–even dessert pastas like chocolate • many use natural herbs and seasonings • some add ingredients that alter the cooking directions • most processors provide recipes

  8. Other Common Varieties • Asian noodles made from rice, potatoes, cornstarch, bean, soy • Chinese cellophane noodles made from mung-bean starch are clear and thin • Japanese ramen noodles made from wheat flour and deep-fried • Japanese soba noodles made from buckwheat flour

  9. Cooking Pasta • unless it is precooked, pasta must be boiled (a few recipes are bake-only) • use a large pot so it won’t boil over • rapid boiling helps circulate the pasta so it cooks evenly and does not stick together • read the package directions

  10. bring the water to a rapid boil (large bubbles break the water’s surface) • slowly add the pasta so the water continues to boil • do not let it stop boiling–the pasta will stick together • stir the pasta occasionally so it won’t stick together • DO NOT ADD OIL–it forms a slippery surface and sauce won’t stick

  11. dried pasta is generally cooked to “al dente” or “firm to the bite” • it should be cooked through with no white core in the center (cut a small piece to check for doneness) • cooking time varies with the thickness • if it will be baked, the cooking time is less • fresh pasta generally cooks much faster

  12. after cooking, drain in a colander or strainer • never rinse cooked pasta • to keep the pasta hot, place the colander over a bowl of hot water and cover it • pasta can be frozen alone but freezes best if it is combined with the sauce

  13. Nutritious Pasta • because pasta is made from wheat, it has natural sugars (carbohydrates) that provide a quick source of energy • naturally low in fat (without the sauce); some noodles have egg yolks but some have whites only so are lower in fat • whole-wheat pasta has more fiber and nutrition than regular pasta

  14. enriched pastas have nutrients replaced in the fl our; fortified pastas have those same nutrients but also have others added or “boosted” • some of those with other ingredients added are more nutritious–carrots, tomatoes, spinach, etc. • optional to add salt when cooking • if you rinse the pasta, you rinse away many nutrients

  15. Buon appetito! good eating!