Lunch in an Italian bistro is simply not complete without a delicious plate of spinach lasagna or spaghetti bolognese. Pasta is one of best things to come out of Italy. Although it is renowned to be an Italian specialty, its origins are still debated. There are some suggestions that say pasta originated from China and North Africa. Until today, it is still unclear where this wheat-based wonder was born.
Although the origin of pasta is unclear until today, it cannot be denied that the art of pasta making has been mastered by the Italians. Italians even have a law stating dry pasta can only be made with the durum wheat flour or semolina. This is to assure that all the different types of pasta they make are of the highest caliber.
Pasta-making has become an art for Italians. So much that it became so diverse. There are a hundred types of pasta to choose from, thanks to them. There are actually three things that make pasta types different: Noodles, sauce and cooking.
Noodles can basically be grouped into four: Long and short pasta, minute pasta and baking pasta or al forno. The first two are the most commonly ones. Spaghetti, vermicelli and linguine are examples of long pasta. The spiral rotini, the shell-like conchigle and the butterfly-shaped farfalle are examples of short pasta. Minute pastas are small pasta mixed with soup. Such examples are the square-shaped quadretti and the star-like stelline. Lasgana and ziti are types of al forno, which are made especially for baking.
Sauce is another major factor for making different types of pasta. There are various types of sauces, all having a unique taste. Puttanesca and marinara are examples of red, tomato-based sauces. Alfredo and carbonara, on the other hand, are lighter, cream-based white sauces. Depending on the taste one would want to achieve, a variety of other ingredients can be mixed. Spices, vegetables, seafood and meat are examples of ingredients that can give your sauce that extra kick.
Another factor that makes pasta diverse is how it’s cooked. The only common rule in pasta making is to boil the noodles until firm, or as the Italians call it, al dente. Traditionally, one would mix the cooked sauce into the noodles. But one can certainly do whatever they want to the pasta they cook. Lasagna and ziti can be baked. Minute pastas are mixed with soups and are boiled together with the broth. And macaroni can be mixed with some salads. However the dose is made is basically up to your taste.