In a global survey of what people eat, the charity Oxfam discovered that pasta is the world's favourite food. It's no surprise really when you consider that pasta is often quick to cook, economic to buy, versatile in its use and variety, in its dried form; can have a long storage life and above all; is filling and delicious! Pasta is a great vegetarian go-to, so naturally, veggie-yum has a selection of vegetarian pasta recipes to add to your repertoire
Pasta, originally found in Italy and Sicily, and mentioned in a book as early as 1154 comes in 310 different official shapes (although this figure is far higher when you take into account any regional differences in names and sizes) Pasta can be fresh or dried, come in sheets (lasagne), long strands (such as spaghetti or linguine), tubes (such as macaroni, penne or rigatoni) or shapes such as bows (farfalle), shells (conchiglie) or twists (fusilli) to name just a few!
It is often thought that fresh pasta is a superior product to dried pasta. This actually isn't the case (as long as you buy a good quality dried pasta) In Italy, the choice of pasta is related to the sauce that it will be cooked with. Fresh pasta is better at absorbing the flavour of the sauce and so is good for sauces that are more buttery or creamy, or in general where the flavour is more subtle and delicate whereas dried pasta is better for a chunkier, tomato based sauce. On the subject of cooking dried pasta, make sure that you use salted boiling water. Many Italians use the ratio of 1000:100:10 (1000 ml litres of water for 100g dried pasta and 10g salt) and cook it until it is "Al Dente" which means that it still has a little bite to it. Try not to over cook the pasta or it will turn gloopy and limp.
Pasta can of course be cooked and served in many different ways - baked in the oven, boiled in salted water and tossed in butter, black pepper and parmesan, served with a sauce (creamy, spicy, cheesy, with herbs or vegetables, tomato based....the list is endless), added to soup or stuffed with a delicious filling before cooking. Whilst many people love pasta for it's satisfying and filling level of carbohydrate, some people prefer a lighter form of pasta and so in recent times, courgette spaghetti (or courgetti) and zucchini noodles (zoodles) have become popular. Either add them half and half with regular pasta or completely substitute pasta for the vegetable alternative.