Pasta • Made from any of several varieties of durum wheat that thrive in dry climates, pasta has become one of the world's most popular foods. • It comes in many different shapes and sizes • The basic dough can be combined with other ingredients and sauces • Pasta can be used as an appetiser, starter, accompaniment or main course • It can be bought fresh or dried • It does not take long to cook
Say ‘pasta’ and everyone thinks Italian. However, pasta is used in many other European and Asian cuisines. North America has contributed pasta salads and other modern dishes. Popular history says that pasta was invented in China, and that Marco Polo brought the knowledge of this food back to Venice. The spaghetti Polo came across in the far east was made from either rice flour or hard wheat flour.
Types of pasta Fresh pasta made at home is usually either • cut into noodles that are boiled and served with a sauce or • Shaped with a stuffing Extruded pastas such as spaghetti, macaroni, shells and twists are made commercially and sold dried
Short, shaped pasta • Good with many dishes; meat, fish and vegetable • Good in salads • Catch plenty of sauce • Macaroni; penne (quills); fusilli (twirls); conchiglie (shells); farfalle (butterflies)
Layered and stuffed pasta Several different shapes ideal for filling and baking. • Lasagne (sheets); cannelloni (big pipes); ravioli (pillows); tortellini (twisted stuffed pastas) Dumplings Italian style dumplings or gnocchi are made with semolina (or flour) and baked.
Cheese and pasta Four Italian cheeses are commonly used with pasta: 1. Parmesan – a hard cheese made from cow’s milk. Aged at least 2 years to give a nutty piquant taste. Expensive so is used grated, a little goes a long way in flavouring sauces, stuffings and sprinkled on top of cooked pasta.
Cheese and pasta 2. Ricotta – good used in stuffings as it holds other ingredients together and adds body to the mixture. It has a light, slightly granular texture and mild taste. Cottage cheese puréed with a little cream could be used as a substitute. Cottage cheese
Cheese and pasta 3. Mozarella – made from cow’s milk. True mozarella is made from buffalo cow’s milk. Known as the king of cheeses for melting on top of baked pastas. Mild flavour. Italian Fontina, Bel Paese or any other mild, soft French cheeses can be used as a substitute. Bel paese Fontina
Cheese and pasta 4. Gorgonzola – blue veined. Crumbled into fillings or melted into sauces to add richness and a salty tang. Similar types include Roquefort, Danish blue, and creamy but mild Bresse bleu. Roquefort Bresse bleu Danish blue
Pasta is designed to be mixed with other ingredients. In its simplest form it can be tossed with melted butter or olive oil, together with freshly ground pepper and perhaps some chopped herbs. It can be coloured and enriched with tomato, spinach, squid ink, carrot and beetroot. When poultry, meat or fish is added pasta becomes a much more substantial dish, providing protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates.
macaroni vermicelli capellini rigatoni spaghetti penne lasagne cannelloni tagliatelle linguine fettuccine ravioli gnocchi farfalle tortellini fusilli conchiglie