Common Pasta Shapes

Fettuccini (fe-ta-'che-ne) Fettuccini are flat, long, ^-inch-wide noodles. They are best boiled and served with rich cream sauces, such as alfredo, or meat sauces that adhere well to these ribbon-like noodles.

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Orzo ('6rd-(,)zo) Orzo are small, rice-shaped pasta. They are best in pilaf, salads, and soups.

Fusilli (fyu-'si-le) Fusilli are corkscrew-shaped twists. They are boiled, and baked in dishes with medium or thick, creamy sauces.

Manicotti (,ma-na-'ka-te) Manicotti are medium-size hollow tubes, cut straight or angled. They are stuffed with cheese, meat, seafood, or vegetables, and baked.

Soba ('so-ba) Soba are Japanese noodles that are similar in appearance to egg pasta. They are made from buckwheat flour. Soba are used in Asian foods, hot and cold dishes, and salads.

Penne ('pe(n)-(,)na) Penne are short- to medium-size hollow tubes that are cut diagonally. They are also called quills or pens. Penne are usually baked with hearty meat or tomato sauces and cheese.

Conchiglie (c6n-'ke-lya) Conchiglie pasta are shaped like shells. They are usually stuffed, or used in salads. They are good with meat or seafood sauces, and are often filled with seafood, meat, or cheese, and baked.

Fresh Pasta

Fresh pasta can be made in the kitchen. However, it requires a great deal of labor, or hard work, to produce. It is also difficult to get a consistent product. Fresh pasta can be purchased fresh or frozen. Fresh pasta also comes in a variety of flavors, such as spinach, tomato-garlic, and whole-wheat.

Fresh pasta must be tightly wrapped and kept refrigerated to prevent its drying out. Even when refrigerated, fresh pasta should be used within a few days after it has been made. It can also be kept in the freezer to be used within a few weeks.

\ Determine What standards of quality should you look for when evaluating pasta?

Cooking Pasta

Cooking pasta is a simple process. However, before you actually cook the pasta, you will need to complete the mise en place for everything you are going to use. You also will need to be familiar with the recipe. Some pasta dishes require the pasta to be fully cooked. Other recipes require pasta to be partially cooked and added to a casserole along with a variety of other ingredients. A casserole is a mixed food dish that is baked and served in a casserole dish.

Pasta can be boiled or baked. Boiling pasta is a simple process. Both fresh and dried pastas can be boiled. Baked pasta is usually one of the main ingredients of a casserole dish, such as stuffed manicotti or lasagne. When pasta is baked, the noodles are partly cooked first by boiling.

Boiling Pasta

When boiling pasta, you need to use enough water to cook it properly. Pasta can be cooked when a customer orders it. It also can be cooked in large amounts ahead of time. Dried pasta is sometimes cooked ahead

A Taste of History

1793

Marie Antoinette, queen of France, is beheaded

1798

A Frenchman opens one of the first pasta factories, in Philadelphia

Pass the Pasta

Popular legend has it that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy following his exploration of the Far East. There, the Chinese were making a noodle-like food as early as 3000 bce. However, Italians ate pasta dishes many years before Marco Polo's journey. Greek mythology suggests that the Greek god Hephaestus invented a device that made strings of dough, which may very well have been the first spaghetti! Regardless of its origins, today, pasta dishes can be found all over the world.

History Application

Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes, and every country has its own variety. Create a chart that describes at least five different types of pasta. Vary the countries from which these types originate.

NCSS IV E Individual Development and Identity Examine the interaction of ethnic, national, or cultural influences in specific situations or events.

of time. Fresh pasta is not because it cooks quickly and becomes too soft.

Baking Pasta

When pasta is baked with a filling and a sauce, or simply a sauce, the flavors blend during the baking process. You cannot achieve, or do, this simply by adding a sauce to the top of plain cooked pasta.

Some types of pasta, such as lasagne noodles, are cooked and then layered in a casserole with other ingredients such as cheese, meat, spinach, and tomato sauce for a hearty, baked dish. Manicotti and cannelloni are stuffed with a filling such as cheese and covered in sauce. Macaroni and cheese is also a baked pasta dish. It is a popular dish in the United States.

^^ Use at least 1 gallon of water for each pound of pasta in a large enough stockpot for the pasta to move around freely.

^^ Add about 1 ounce of salt per gallon of water. The pasta will absorb the water and salt during the cooking process.

^ Bring the water to a full boil and add the pasta.

Stir the pasta with a large cooking spoon or braising fork occasionally as it continues to boil for the indicated time. The combination of rapid convection movement, the large amount of water, the small amount of pasta, and the stirring motion will keep the pasta from sticking together.

^^ Test the pasta for doneness. The best way to tell if pasta is done is to taste it. Pasta that still has a white line through it is not done all the way.

Q Drain the cooked pasta into a colander.

^ If you will serve the pasta immediately, do not cool or rinse it. Just plate the pasta and serve it. If you will serve the pasta later, rinse it with cold, running tap water to halt the cooking process. Drain the pasta, add a small amount of oil, and toss it gently. This will help keep the pasta from sticking together. If you will serve pasta in a salad, let the pasta cool before you mix it in.

In most cases, the pasta is partially cooked before it is layered or stuffed. Then it is assembled with other ingredients and baked. In many foodservice operations, baked pasta dishes are served piping hot in individual baking dishes. They are usually accompanied by fresh bread and a cold, crispy salad on a separate plate.

Determine Doneness

When you cook Italian-style pasta, cook it al dente (äl-'den-(,)tä), or "to the bite," meaning that the pasta is tender, but still firm. If pasta is cooked past the stage at which it is tender but still firm when bitten into, it quickly becomes soft and mushy. This can make pasta very unappetizing.

Each type of pasta has a different cooking time. If pasta is overcooked or undercooked, the dish being prepared could be ruined. The amount of water, the altitude, and various other factors can affect the cooking time, too. It is important to check pasta carefully to stop the cooking process at the al dente stage.

To check for doneness, you can bite into a piece of the pasta. If it is tender, but still firm, remove the pasta from the heat and drain it carefully over the sink in a colander.

A colander is a container with small holes in the bottom for rinsing and draining food. Another alternative is to cut through a piece of pasta with a fork. If it cuts easily, it is done.

Stuffing Pasta

Once cooked, some pasta can be stuffed with ingredients. Tubular pastas, such as manicotti or cannelloni, are usually stuffed. Ravioli are stuffed squares, rounds, or triangles. A variety of other pasta shapes can be stuffed, too. The filling ingredients may include cheese, meat, seafood, poultry, or vegetables.

The fillings, with the exception of meat, can be cooked or uncooked. Meat fillings,

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