The types of Italian pasta you can try on a trip around the country
Pasta is an incredibly popular food that can be considered the gastronomic symbol of Italy. What happens, how to choose her? Where in Rome to try real Italian pasta? You will find answers to all these questions in our article.
Why in Italy is pasta called pasta? Translated from Italian, pasta means “dough”, but this name also “stuck” to products from it, which have different shapes.
For classic Italian pasta, they take water and durum wheat flour. For other species, eggs, starch, rice, buckwheat, or other cereal flour may also be used.
Pasta in Italy was a delicacy and … food of the poor
In Italy, pasta is a kind of national treasure. According to statistics from the Association of Pasta Producers of the European Union, every Italian eats up to 28 kg of pasta annually – this is the largest indicator in the world. Nevertheless, disputes over the right to be called the homeland of pasta do not subside today. Some researchers believe that the Italian navigator Marco Polo brought similar products from rice flour from China.
But pasta did not immediately become one of the main national dishes of Italy. Initially, in the sixteenth century, it was considered a delicacy, “pampering,” and in those days when there was a shortage of flour, the authorities even forbade spending precious raw materials on it.
The situation changed later, in the 17th century. Then, due to problems with food, especially meat, Italians began to cook much more pasta, came up with new varieties of it – and the dish firmly entered the diet of the poor class. A century later, the nickname “pasta”, widely known today, appeared.
The first Italian pasta factory opened in Venice in 1740.
400 to 600 types of pasta exist in the world
It is unlikely that anyone will be able to accurately calculate how many types of Italian pasta exist today. But even according to the most conservative estimates, their number is from 400 to 600. All pasta can be divided into six groups: long, short, curly, for soups, for baking and with filling.
Some of the most common types:
spaghetti – a long and thin round-shaped paste;
bucatini – pasta with a diameter of 3 mm with a hole in the center;
cannelloni – hollow tubes up to 10 cm long and up to 3 cm in diameter, which can be stuffed with filling and baked in the oven with sauce;
konkily – “shells” of different sizes, which are served with sauces or stuffed;
dzhemelli (“twins”) – two short tubes twisted together;
kalamarata – a thick paste in the form of rings similar to chopped squid;
tagliatelle – long, thin and flat “ribbons” of dough (they are also called “Italian noodles”);
capellini – the thinnest of the existing varieties of pasta;
rigatoni – short tubes with grooves on the surface;
candele (“candle”) – pasta in the form of long hollow tubes;
ravioli – small square dough pads with various fillings;
kavatappi (“corkscrew”) – a spiral-shaped paste that keeps the sauce well thanks to the grooves;
farfalle (“bows”) – pasta in the form of butterflies;
lasagna – squared or square dough sheets with wavy or even edges. In Italy, they prepare the famous dish of the same name.
The shorter the ingredients, the better the paste.
If you decide to cook the “right” pasta yourself, you need to choose a quality product. When buying, pay attention, first of all, to the following points:
pleasant straw shade (cheaper varieties have a “plastic” look and a dark golden color);
raw materials – durum wheat (they are considered the best, as they contain less starch and more gluten);
composition (the shorter the list, the higher the quality of the product);
benefits (high protein content – at least 12% per 100 g of product);
natural dyes (if we are talking about “colored” pasta, then it is spinach, pumpkin, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cuttlefish ink);
expiration date (although the paste can be stored for several years, it is better to cook it in the first six months after the date of manufacture indicated on the package);
purpose (for example, Italian pasta with a porous surface is ideally suited for “absorbing” the sauce, but on smooth and shiny varieties the sauce, on the contrary, does not “linger”).
Pasta in Italy
But it is important not only to choose the right product, but also to boil it correctly. In Italy, the “al dente” state is accepted as the standard for pasta readiness, when in the middle the product remains slightly undercooked. Translated from Italian, al dente literally means “on the tooth.”
Among the varieties of Italian pasta there is even chocolate, which is eaten as a dessert. In addition to her, there are many recipes for sweet pasta. They are cooked with honey, candied fruits and pistachios, stuffed with ricotta, seasoned with cinnamon and almonds.