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Don’t Pass on the Pasta
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by: Celebrity Recipes Magazine

You think you know everything there is to know about pasta? Read on to find more about this favored foodstuff.

Pasta-eaters that we are, most Filipinos are generally knowledgeable about this Italian import. However, there are still some pasta facts around that one can throw about on the dinner table. Here a few:

What is pasta?
Pasta, as everybody knows, is the “generic” name for “dough” that comes in various shapes. Despite the multitude of shapes, however, it is generally considered that there are only two kinds: manufactured and homemade. Also, despite the hundreds of shapes, it’s considered that there are only four types: tube, ribbon, cord and fancy shapes.

Why are there different shapes?
It’s all in the sauce. Stronger sauces --- usually meat-based --- are usually partnered with cord-like pastas; while the fancy shape pastas are used in tandem with the lighter vegetable-based sauces. The reason behind the latter is that the “cups and crevices” of these pastas can hold the delicate sauces.

What’s the difference between homemade and manufactured pasta?
Taste wise, not much really. With regards to ingredients, however, manufactured pastas are sometimes made with eggs; while the homemade pastas are “always” made with eggs.

Will colored pastas bleed into the sauce?
It depends. Some pasta are made with spinach, thus their green color. However, some manufactured pastas just use “dye”. As such, it would be wise if consumer read the package first. That is, if they don’t want to have a weird-looking sauce on their pasta. Of course, this suggestion goes with the other colored pasta as well, of which there seems to be a lot lately.

How does one cook pasta?
The directions on most pasta packages are usually quite accurate when it comes to cooking pasta. However, pastas need plenty of water to cook. About 6 quarts of water is needed in order to cook one pound of pasta. When it comes to cooking dry and fresh pasta, the latter cooks much faster than the dry. Here’s a tip, when the water starts to boil, put the pasta immediately (dry) and switch off the stove. The heat from the boiled water is enough to cook the pasta thoroughly without making it mushy.

Should cooked pastas be used immediately?
Always. However, during cooking emergencies, you can try placing the cooked pasta back in hot water, with butter or oil added to keep them from sticking together. Usually, though, you can only keep pasta from waiting for only half an hour. After that, it becomes mushy or soggy; and you don’t want guests and family to eat soggy pasta now, do you?

Can pastas be stored?
Surprisingly, it can. Just drain immediately and thoroughly, coat with butter or oil and refrigerate in a very, very tightly covered container. If you need to use it, just place the pasta in boiling water in order to heat through. Do not store pasta with the sauce, though. It destroys both the taste and texture of the pasta.

Is fettuccine and tagliatelle the same?
Not quite. Fettuccine is the Roman (Rome), as opposed to the Italian name for egg noodles, which is generically called tagliatelle.

Tagliatelle is very similar to fettuccine and is usually eaten in Northern Italy.

Anyway, fettuccine is usually simply served with melted sweet (unsalted) butter, Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Actually, it is also said to have originated in a Roman restaurant, named Alfredo’s.

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September 23, 2017

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