Although there are more than a hundred different varities of pasta, most of us living in India would be familiar only with Macaroni pasta.That’s because Macaroni is the cheapest form of pasta available here and is manufactured within India.Most of the other forms of pasta such as Spaghetti,Fusilli,Penne,Lasagne etc. are imported and hence are more costly and available only in selective supermarkets.(However I have not yet managed to spot Lasagne sheets in any of supermarkets I’ve been to in Bangalore)
Pasta is generally made of wheat flour,water and sometimes eggs.If the pasta contains eggs , it remains fresh for only a few days, whereas pasta that does not contain eggs can remain edible for at least a year.The ingredients that go into making the pasta determine it’s taste and colour e.g if a herb paste is added to the pasta dough, then the pasta colour would be green.The tricolour pastas that you see in the market have been flavoured with tomato and spinach powders. The shape of the pasta does not influence it’s taste, however it does have a bearing on the pasta cooking time.Different kinds of machines are used to make different pasta shapes.Some of the most basic pasta machines can even be ordered online.They are extremely useful if one wants to make fresh pasta.
Pasta is cooked by using the boiling technique.Once the pasta has been immersed in the boiling water, the water should be allowed to just simmer.Also don’t forget to add salt to the water, else the pasta will taste absolutely bland.If during the process of cooking, the pasta starts to get sticky, it’s advisable to put a few drops of oil in the water.The common guideline for cooking pasta perfectly is that it should be cooked till it’s al dente.This means that the pasta should not be too soft and should be firm to bite.The cooking time of pasta depends on it’s shape and thickness.The cooking instructions can generally be found on the plastic cover.
The most common way of cooking pasta is to serve it with some kind of sauce with a sprinkling of cheese on top.There are a huge variety of sauces that can be served with pasta.Most of these are simple to make, and some are even available pre-packaged in supermarkets.However, the pasta sauces available in supermarkets are not only expensive, but they also have a certain marked taste due to preservatives.Using fresh sauce is recommendable as it mostly just involves pushing in few ingredients into a blender to form a paste and later cooking that paste in a saucepan with some milk or cream and cheese.Apart from this, pasta can also be served cold as some form of salad.
Pasta dishes are traditionally prepared in olive oil.However, olive oil is expensive and if you don’t wish to purchase it, you can still use the usual refined oil for cooking pasta.
Most pasta dishes require microwave baking towards the end.This is needed to melt the cheese and to bind together the different components of the dish.But since I don’t own a microwave yet, I usually skip this step and the results are not at all disastrous .
In my later posts I will be sharing some pasta recipes.As pasta is one of my favourite dishes, it is only fit to have started this blog with a post on the mighty pasta.Bon Apetite!!