Definition of Pasta:
"Pasta (Italian pasta, from Latin pasta "dough, pastry cake", from Greek παστά (pasta) "barley porridge") is a generic term for foods made from an unleavened dough of flour and water, and sometimes a combination of egg and flour. Pastas include noodles in various lengths, widths and shapes, and varieties that are filled with other ingredients like ravioli and tortellini. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce or chocolate to enhance the flavour."
There are approximately 600 different shapes of pasta
"Examples include spaghetti (thin rods), maccheroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Two other noodles, gnocchi and spätzle, are sometimes considered pasta. They are both traditional in parts of Italy.
Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: dried and fresh:
"Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. In preparation for consumption, pasta is generally boiled."
"Pasta is made from a simple combination of water, eggs and flour. Pre-packaged specialty pasta often includes spices, cheese or added coloring from spinach, tomatoes or food dye."
"Under Italian law, dry pasta (pasta secca) can only be made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina. Durum flour and durum semolina have a yellow tinge in color. Italian pasta is traditionally cooked al dente (Italian: "to the tooth", meaning not too soft). Outside Italy, dry pasta is frequently made from other types of flour (such as wheat flour), but this yields a softer product that cannot be cooked al dente"
"Particular varieties of pasta may also use other grains and milling methods to make the flour, as specified by law. Some pasta varieties, such as pizzoccheri, are made from buckwheat flour. Fresh pasta may include eggs (pasta all'uovo, roughly translated as egg pasta). Some specialty pasta varieties can be made from grains low in gluten for gluten-intolerant people, or from whole wheat flour. Gnocchi are often listed among pasta dishes, although they are quite different in ingredients, mainly milled potatoes."
You may also want to research:
• List of pasta
• Italian cuisine
• National Pasta Association
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