What is Pasta?
Whenever we think of pasta, the first thing that comes to mind is a plate of noodles mixed into a certain amount of sauce. The truth is that what I just described is spaghetti, a type of pasta. Pasta really refers to the noodles, minus the sauce, though that is still a simplistic description. Pasta, then, refers to a particular food ingredient that is made using flour and water.
In order to make pasta, you must first make a dough using flour. You can add olive oil, eggs, or champaign into the dough for flavor. Some people may even put special aromatic herbs and such, but it is not crucial that you do. The main ingredients of pasta is known as semolina, which is a type of flour that is made of the purified millings of hard wheat.
Making dough out of flour actually takes a lot of work. But it is important to keep at it until it becomes soft. The combination of ingredients is certainly an important factor, but the amount of love one puts into the dough actually determines a lot of what you get in the end. When the dough becomes soft, you can start cutting the dough up into pieces. And depending on the size and shape of how you cut up the pasta will determine the shape of the pasta.
Types of Pasta
There are a variety of pasta shapes such as macaroni and penne which are specifically made so for holding the sauce within the shell, and the more regular noodle shapes of spaghetti, fettucine, as well as farfalle or fusilli, which are more intricately shaped pasta noodles. Finally, there's also the wide-shaped lasagna noodles which are meant for piling between meet, cheese, veggies and sauce.
There is one very important step that one must always remember in making any type of pasta. It is important to rub the pasta with oil after you cut it up into pieces so that each piece will not stick to each other. Please don't forget to do that.
Boiling the Pasta
The most important thing to consider when boiling pasta is the amount of water and the length of boiling time. I would recommend pouring about 10 times the amount of pasta of water when you are boiling the pasta in a pot. And when the water starts to boil, scoop in a large spoon of salt so that the pasta will cook all the way through. Many, of course, enjoy their pasta a little less cooked, which is just fine. For your information, many say that cooking the pasta a little less enhances the flavor of the pasta, which is called 'al dente' by many professional cooks. Anyway, once the water boils in the pot and you place the pasta in the boiling water, you should stir the pasta around in the pot. This is to make sure that the pasta doesn't start sticking to each other. You should make sure to stir the pasta around every once in a while. The amount of time it takes to boil the pasta will vary depending on the size and type of pasta that is being boiled, but you will have to rely on accumulating more experience to determine how long each type of pasta takes to boil.
When the pasta is done, all you have to do is pour the sauce over it, and you will have a delicious pasta dish ready to be served. Of course, depending on how good your sauce is, the taste of your pasta dish will be determined as well. You can use all types of ingredients to make your sauce, from fish, seafood, meat, eggs and other proteins, as well as cheese, vegetables, olive oil, butter, cream etc.. But you must keep in mind that certain pastas tend to go better with certain types of sauces. If you have a long, thin pasta, then use a light and thin sauce. If you have a thicker but long pasta, consider the blend of the pasta with the sauce and use a slightly thicker sauce. Any pastas that are short, shaped in a particular shape such as the bowtie or fusilli, should be served with a thick sauce.