Fresh, dried, egg filled, pasta are the undisputed queens of Italian gastronomy. It is important to buy good pasta that holds its shape through the cooking process and then enables the sauce cling to it. It is also important to remember that pasta is made into many different shapes for good reason. Thick sauces demand large pasta shapes such as thick fettuccine or pappardelle. Light and delicate sauces work well with capellini (angel hair pasta).
Kinds of pasta
There are approximately 350 different shapes of pasta. Examples include spaghetti (solid, thin cylinders), maccheroni (tubes or hollow cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Two other noodles, gnocchi and spätzle, are sometimes counted as pasta. Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: Dried and Fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Pasta is generally boiled to soften it before being eaten.
Conchiglie- seashell shaped
Farfalle- Bow tie or butterfly shaped
Fioriettini- Shaped like a flower
Fusilli- Three-edged spiral, usually in mixed colours.
Pipe- large version of macaroni
Rotelle- Wagon wheel shaped pasta
Spirali- A tube which spirals round
Maccheroni- As long as a little finger, usually striped
Penne- Medium length tubes with ridges, cut diagonally at both ends
Rigatoni- Large and slightly curved tube
Ziti- Long, narrow hose-like tubes
Spaghetti- solid, thin cylinders
Pasta is very nutritious and is rich in folic acid, which protects against heart diseases and some types of cancer. Pasta is a good carbohydrate with a low gylcemic index and only 99 calories in each half-cup. By selecting fresh vegetables and olive oil to pair with your pasta, you can create a multitude of tasty, light meals.
Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and Beans
o 2 bowls diced tomatoes
o 250gms beans, drained rinsed
o Fresh spinach, washed chopped
o Penne pasta
o 1/2 cup crumbled feta/ processed cheese
o Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
o Combine tomatoes and beans in a large non-stick pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
o Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly.
o Pour sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with grated cheese