Fresh Pasta Versus Dry Pasta: Cooking Times & The Basics.

Fresh Pasta Versus Dry Pasta: Cooking Times & The Basics.

If you are reading this you must be a fan and curious observer of all things pasta. It’s easy to love the delicious texture and versatility of one of the world’s most well-known carbohydrate rich foodstuffs. One of the qualities that make pasta a successful food product for centuries now, millennia even (with no signs of waning popularity) is the products’ ability to be consumed either fresh or dried.

Pasta can be made either with eggs or without depending on the recipe for its production. ┬áThis brings about the contemporary luxury of ‘vegan’ pastas, when in effect a variety of recipes can be traced back to the simple reality of having eggs on hand or not. Dried pastas have a longer shelf life due to their lack of egg content. These pastas rely heavily on the gluten found within wheat flours to create a bonding agent that solidify the pasta’s form and shape of choice. Think of the world’s largest pasta maker, Barilla, a company that churns out hundreds of pasta shapes and noodles globally that lack eggs as ingredients and are processed with industrial machinery. The dough, once extruded into its final form, will be dried for packaging and shipment.

At Il Pastaio, our family-operated pasta factory, we make fresh pasta which contains eggs. Fresh pasta is the ‘first-class,’ or ‘top-shelf’ in pasta products because of the taste, quality and above all, freshness. Fresh pasta must be consumed relatively quickly after it’s creation. It’s a living food source that has an expiration date, a work of art with an ethereal existence that is purposeful and honored by its final use in preparation for consumption. The perfect combination of quality ingredients and the short life-span of fresh pasta makes it all the more special and coveted in the culinary world.

 

The term ‘al dente‘ only refers to dried pasta because it is hard and stiff and can be served in it’s dry form, with a crunch to the bite, when undercooked. This is popular in Italy and in certain global enclaves of Italian traditions. Fresh pasta can be eaten raw (if that’s your thing), or served near raw if undercooked (whether baked or boiled) and it will still deliver it’s evocative and unique flavor. Yet, the best way to enjoy fresh pasta is to cook it properly so as to taste the infusion of seasoning derived from the boiling, salted water and oil. Sauces become a device to add flavors, proteins, vegetables and more, in an endless array of recipes that enhance the cuisine category of pasta. Nevertheless, fresh cooked pasta, in our opinion, is a delight on it’s own, matching its attributes versus any carb the world has ever dreamed of.

Here is a list of the cooking times for the fresh pasta products you can find and take home in bulk from Il Pastaio. Also, check out this helpful guide on cooking pasta from a notable pasta artisanal chef, Silvana Lanzetta, should you decide to take home our pasta sheets and make your own pasta creations. When cooking a pound of fresh pasta, make sure you have a large pot (at least 5 cups of water), 1 hardy tablespoon of salt and an equality healthy tablespoon of oil (we recommend olive not, Extra Virgin is not necessary).

Capellini, cooks in 30 seconds to 1 minute. The thinnest pasta, is very delicate and cooks very quickly.

Spaghetti, cook time: 1 minute, no more than 2 minutes.

Linguini, cook time: 2 and a half to 3 minutes.

Fettuccini, cooks in 3-4 minutes.

Papperdelle, our widest noodle, cooks in 4 minutes.

Fusilli and Rigatoni: We slightly dry our short pastas due to their shape. These will cook in 5-6 minutes.

Gnocchi: 2-3 minutes. These delectable dumplings will float to the top of the water when ready. make sure they are throughly cooked. Should have the consistency of soft pillows.

Ravioli: Our 14 varieties of stuffed pastas, which come in three different shapes, will also cook in 4 – 5 minutes. Wait until they float to the top of the boiling water. Make sure they are cooked throughout.

We like to say, you can build a civilization around pasta, and wouldn’t you know it…. it’s already happened, and of course, how could it not? It’s one of the world’s most perfect foods. So ‘Mangia! Mangia!’ as the Italians say, and be merry! Bon Appetit!

 

 


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