Pasta – A Global Food for Taste, Health, and Convenience
What Is pasta?
- a basic staple food used in cooking around the world.
- a delicious family meal favorite; the signature dish of many of the world’s most famous chefs; a comfort meal in times of stress; an exciting meal in times of celebration; and a bonding meal when friends gather together around the table, at home or at in restaurants.
- a component of traditional healthy meals, especially in Mediterranean and Latin American regions.
Families all over the world eat pasta. Very often pasta is part of their main meal of the day.
What Is pasta made from?
- Pasta is made from durum wheat semolina mixed with water, which is then kneaded and formed into various shapes; it is dried and cooked prior to eating.
- Sometimes pasta may contain other ingredients such as the flour of certain other grains, eggs or vegetables.
- These ingredients can be mixed to form the dough before it is dried, like in the case of egg pasta, or they can be added as a filling, in the case of filled pasta like ravioli.
Pasta is a delicious and healthy food.
What Is A pasta Meal?
- Pasta meals are recognized by physicians and nutrition scientists as healthy, because its centerpiece—pasta—is a slowly-digested carbohydrate;
- Pasta is served with delicious sauces and healthy foods such as tomatoes, olive oil, cheese, vegetables, fish, clams, shrimp, meat, and beans, that serve as partners on the plate or in a bowl.
Whether served simply or grandly, pasta is a wonderful, tasty, healthy, sustainable and versatile food!
How to Make Pasta
Pasta can be made two ways.
The most common way of making pasta is with machines. This is the pasta we buy in boxes and packages in markets. The other way is by hand and can be called “artisan pasta.” Either way, the first step is to grind the durum wheat kernels into semolina. This durum wheat semolina is then carefully mixed with water, pressed into pasta shapes, and dried.
If the pasta is made in factories, the expert pasta makers put the durum wheat semolina and water into one end of a huge machine (bigger than a house!). Then the pasta maker pushes the “start button,” and the machine goes to work. The pasta dough is forced through holes in the machine (called a die) that determine the shape of the pasta. Then, the shaped pasta goes through a drying process and after its completion, the dried pasta comes out the other end of the machine, and is ready to go into boxes and then to the market!
How to cook pasta
- Most of the time, pasta is cooked in boiling water. When it is done, the pasta is taken out of the water, drained, and then “dressed.” Dressing pasta meals means mixing it with wonderful sauces or other foods such as tomatoes, olive oil, fish, cheese, meat, or vegetables.
Some favorite pasta sauces are very simple (just olive oil or butter, a sprinkle of cheese, and salt and pepper). Other delicious pasta sauces are more complicated. They include meat and fish sauces, vegetable sauces (especially tomato sauces), milk and cream sauces. Also, famous chefs often invent clever and exciting dishes with pasta for their restaurants!
- Pasta is often served in soups. Sometimes it is cooked right in the soup broth, and other times it is cooked in plain water, and added to the soup when it is almost finished. Pasta soups are very popular in the Americas. People in Mexico, Central and South American enjoy pasta in many different kinds of soups and stews. North Americans eat lots of chicken, beef, or vegetable soups with pasta.
- Pasta dishes are sometimes fried or baked.