Pasta, a staple diet in Italian cuisine, is well-known as a healthy and nutrient-rich meal. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, folic acid with zero cholesterol and low glycemic index. Pasta is primarily prepared from durum wheat flour mixed with water.
Dried pasta is preferred for commercial production as it has longer shelf life than fresh pasta. Durum wheat flour is mixed with water at a ratio of 3:1 without any raising agents. The mixture undergoes extrusion process for kneading and shaping of pasta. Based on the shapes, pasta is classified as long pasta, short pasta. The dough is pushed through dies to get the desired form of pasta.
Drying the pasta is the most critical step of pasta processing. The water content in pasta needs to be reduced from 30% to 12% at a constant pace for longer shelf life. If dried quickly, pasta will lose its strength and be broken easily. If dried slowly, it will become hard to chew.
- The complex carbohydrates digest very slowly, making one to feel filled and prevent having unhealthy foods.
- Pasta helps to reduce weight. Regular intake of pasta aids in loss of body fats.
- Pasta, with the low GI, helps to regulate blood glucose and prevent diabetes.
- With so many shapes and sizes, pasta forms a healthy and attractive snack for children.
There are 300+ varieties of pasta based on the shapes and sizes. Few popular varieties are
Flat or Ribbon-cut Pasta – Bavette, Lasagna, Mafalda
Short Pasta – Calamarata, Fusilli, Maccheroni, Penne
Decorative Pasta – Farfalle, Gnocchi, Orecchiette