Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pasta



Before I post the pasta recipe, I think it would be a good idea to first have some basic knowledge about pasta. There are so many shapes and sizes and is impossible to know the names of all them – much less what kind of sauce works well with what shape. I will cover some of the basics.

Shaped Pasta
Shaped pastas pair well with all kinds of sauces. The smaller shaped pastas work well with a simple sauce but most shaped pastas can be paired with a chunkier sauce because they are sturdy enough to hold up with the other ingredients. They are also used in pasta salads and casseroles. The shape tends to make it look appetizing with an aesthetic visual.

Conghiglie
Shell-shaped pasta, used in soups and sauces, and the American version in salads.
Gnocchi
Potato dumplings, best served with a ragu sauce.
Farfalle
Also known as butterfly or bow tie pasta. Works well with most sauces, both red and cream.
Orecchiette
Means, literally, “little ear.” It traps sauces in its hollow section.
Radiatore
Called “radiators,” because they resemble little heaters, they trap sauces in their ridges.
Fusilli
“Short Springs” – often served with a light tomato sauce.
Ruote Di Carro
“Cartwheel” shaped pasta – works well with a red sauce and cheese.


Tubular Pasta
Short, tubular pastas go well with sauces that are thick or chunky. Keep the size of the ingredients in mind: tiny macaroni won't hold a chickpea, while rigatoni may feel too large for a simple tomato sauce, where penne would work better. Ridged pastas provide even more texture for sauces to cling to. 

Penne
Probably the most common penne is made smooth or with ridges and can be served with a wide range of sauces, both chunky and/or creamy.
Rigatoni
Most popular with Italians and served with either meat sauces, or tossed with butter, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and a little cream.
Chifferi lisci
Elbow macaroni – used in soups.



Long Strand Pasta Noodles
Long, thin dried pasta, such as capellini, spaghetti, or linguine, marry best with olive-oil-based sauces. These long expanses of pasta need lots of lubrication. Oil coats the pasta completely without drowning it. Thicker strands, like fettuccine and tagliatelle, can stand up to cream sauces and ra'gu. (a meat-based sauce, which is traditionally served with pastaTypical Italian ragù include ragù alla bolognese (sometimes known as Bolognese sauce). When cutting vegetables or herbs for long pasta, cut them string-like rather than in cubes to help them blend better. 

Spaghetti
The most well known and versatile pasta of the bunch. This pasta can be used with a variety of sauces, either red or cream.
Angel Hair
Also known as Capellini or Capelli D’Angelo, work best in broth. In Italy, it is often used as a dessert pasta.
Linguine
Flatter shaped noodles than spaghetti, linguine works well with red and cream sauces. More popular in the US than it is in Italy.
Bucantini
This pasta is made with a hole in the middle, like a straw. Works well with robust meat sauces.
Ribbon Pasta
Ribbon pastas are best when rolled by hand, which creates a delicate, textured porous pasta that absorbs and attracts butter and cream-based sauces unlike any others.
Tagliatelle
Classically served with a meat bolognese sauce.
Pappardelle
Holds up well with large chunks of mushrooms and chicken.
Fettuccine
Best with cream based sauces such as Alfredo.

Stuffed Pasta 




Stuffed pastas consist of fresh pasta sheets that are stuffed with a filling. The pasta sheets are folded over and sealed or another sheet is placed on top and the edges are sealed after the filling has been added. Some sheets are folded over the filling and then twisted to form a little hat shaped pasta. Stuffed pastas are formed in different shapes, such as squares, circles, triangles and half moons. They are stuffed with a variety of fillings, which consist of a mixture of ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, herbs, mushrooms, and vegetables. Stuffed pastas are first cooked and then generally served with a light sauce. They can also be served in a broth or added to a salad after they have been cooked.


Ravioli
The most popular pasta here in the states, it is stuffed with either meat, seafood, vegetables, or cheese. Works well with a tomato sauce.
Tortellini
Crescent shaped and served on New Year’s Eve in broth or with a cream sauce.
Tortelloni
Square-shaped ravioli stuffed with Swiss chard, or spinach and ricotta cheese. Best when served with a butter sauce or just parmigiano reggiano.
Cannelloni
Sheets of pasta spread with a variety of fillings and rolled up like a jelly roll and baked.
Lasagna
Large sheets of pasta that are layered with sauce, meat, seafood, vegetables and/or ricotta cheese.


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