Pasta, what makes it a great food?All About Pasta
Pasta is an extremely easy to make food which has an amazing variety of uses in cooking.
This is one of the reasons pasta has a place relatively high on the list of nearly everyone's favourite foods.
Pasta provides a basis for hundreds if not thousands of delicious recipes, whether as an ingredient in a soup, smothered in a sauce, chopped up and used plain in a salad, or even as an ingredient in a stir fry.
Pasta is extremely versatile, healthy, tasty, and easy to work with. At the same time it tastes great and satisfies the inner man. There aren't many foods that you can say that about.
It's extremely easy to make your own pasta from a very simple recipe, helped of course by a relatively inexpensive pasta maker.
All that's really involved is a simple mixture which is basically kneaded together and sliced in different ways.
In this way you can get the structure of a variety of thin or fat, long or short, tubular or flat shapes.
Doing this you can make a dozen different types of pasta.
Not forgetting of course the pasta which is made into little pockets which contain various delightful fillings. Then, there's the flat, or ridged sheet, of pasta used for lasagna.
If required, you may colour the pasta
Using pasta you can get a taste which is more than enjoyable even if it is used plain with a sprinkling of olive oil.
Since pasta is made from flour and egg it makes a perfect ingredient or base for many healthy recipes.
Some people believe that pasta is unhealthy and fattening, what you need to realise is that it isn't the fault of pasta. The real criminal is the rich and creamy sauces we tend to drown the pasta in.
When pasta is served with a piece of fish, exploding with omega-3 fatty acids or presented plain with a glass or two of fine red wine it can be rather more healthy than otherwise.
The diverse shapes of pasta, together with its various combinations of flexibility and rigidity make this food extremely versatile.
Sauces cling to the starch and the various shapes or geometry of pasta allows the cook to be extremely creative when it comes to stuffing. These factors also allow pasta to be served in a wide variety of colourful and attractive serving options.
One of the secrets or tricks of preparing pasta is to ensure you select the right type of pasta for the dish you're making.
You would hardly select the fine angel hair pasta when making a cheese dish more suitable to the use of macaroni and it would be the rare chef who put lasagna in a soup.
Pasta has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years.
I remember, as a young child, reading, in a school history book, the story of how Marco Polo introduced pasta to the Italians on his return from his epic journey to China. Because of this I always associated pasta with adventure and romance.
It was only later that I discovered the story of Marco Polo and pasta fell into the myth rather than historical fact category.
The ancient (and modern) Chinese certainly had hundreds of uses for this starch and gluten food, as did the Etruscans, fore runners to the modern Italians.
Pasta can be found in the most sophisticated, high priced dishes in elegant 4 star restaurants throughout the world. Simultaneously it graces the most humble of kitchens as a relatively low fat comfort food.
Pasta occurs in many varied forms throughout the world and certainly justifies its status as one of the most international of foods.
Macaroni and cheese bears silent testimony to this in its status as soul food or comfort food from the American Deep South to South Africa
Pasta is found in everything from a simple alphabet soup or chop suey to the rather more complex Tortelli di Zucca which pasta dish is common in Mantova at the base of the Apennines, the Italian mountain chain
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