10 secrets about Italian Pasta - Life in Italy
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10 secrets about Italian pasta

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by Helga

Pasta is one of the most devoured dishes in the entire world, and it seems like everything about Italian pasta tastes like a dream. Whether you are in Italy, France, or even Asia, almost every culture seems to have put together its version of pasta. We love it too, and we have decided today to unveil all the secrets of Italian pasta. Authentic, traditional, and famous, it holds the key to happiness. Are you ready for some facts about Italian pasta?

10 secrets about Italian pasta

If traditional Italian pasta is so renowned all over the world, it is because it is complete. Taste, carbs, and history mixed in any type of sauce you could ever dream of, pasta is everything. Eat it with seashells, or meat, or cheese, or veggies – there exists not one way of unleashing your creativity. Dive in our list of facts about Italian pasta!

1. History of traditional Italian pasta

Every culture in the world fights for the attribution of the first pasta. The Chinese people were already making pasta well before our modern culture, in 3000 B.C. The Etruscan people, ancestors of the Romans, appear to have been making pasta. Indeed, an Etruscan tomb depicts people making something quite similar. Popularly, it is believed that Marco Polo brought back the pasta recipe from the Far East at the end of the 13th Century, bringing the custom to Italy. To learn all the secrets of the history of pasta, let’s meet here!

2. Ingredients of authentic Italian pasta

10 secrets about Italian Pasta - Life in Italy

The traditional Italian pasta recipe is very simple: add one large egg every 100 grams of flour. The eggs and flour must be of outstanding quality, fresh, and free-range. Specific eggs are used in Italy to make the pasta gialla, which is a brighter yellow. When you make your pasta, remember not to add salt to the dough, as you will put it in the pasta cooking water.

3. The dough 

To make stunning pasta dough, all you need to do is follow a few technical steps. Place the flour on a clean spot, make a well, and add the eggs in the middle. Whisk the eggs without touching the flour, and add it once the eggs are fully mixed. Then, use your hands to form a pliable ball that will need to rest for 30 minutes. After that, all that is left to do is cut and shape the pasta in different shapes according to the sauce you want to use.

4. Types of Italian Pasta 

10 secrets about Italian Pasta - Life in Italy

In Italy, there are more than 350 types of Italian pasta. There are so many traditional shapes of Italian pasta that it is hard to keep track of. Some of the most famous include spaghetti, which are very pleasant strings of noodles in the mouth. Macaroni are small tubes of pasta, as are penne, which are cut to an angle at the ends. Spiral pasta includes spiralli and fusilli, shaped like corkscrews. Farfalle, which literally means butterflies, look like wings crinkled in the middle and at the edges. In various areas of Italy, you will find different local shapes, eaten a specific way. That is there the richness of the country!

5. How to cook traditional Italian pasta

The cooking process of traditional Italian pasta is very specific. Let the water boil before you throw in the salt, then the pasta. Do not add oil to the water. Read the cooking instructions on the pack of pasta, to make sure you don’t overcook it. Do not break long pasta like spaghetti or linguine before cooking them – it is easier to roll the pasta around the fork and eat them when long.

Al dente is Italians’ favorite – and the only way of eating pasta. To understand whether your pasta is al dente or not, look at the middle of the pasta as you cook it. You should be able to see that the middle is paler than the rest – it is called the punto Verde and means the pasta is no more al dente when the punto Verde is gone.

6. Serving

10 secrets about Italian Pasta - Life in Italy

The great thing about pasta is that you can eat it at any moment, no matter where you are. Freshly cooked is the best way to serve pasta, which represents a full dish in Italy. Add to the flavors some enhancements like basil, parsley, pecorino romano, or parmesan – your palate will thank you!

7. Light sauce pasta

10 secrets about Italian Pasta - Life in Italy

Light sauce pasta counts among the most famous Italian pasta, with types of pasta like spaghetti or macaroni. They are smooth and do not make sauces stick as much as heavy sauce pasta. For instance, you can serve spaghetti with broth and seashells, or cheese sauces like the Roman cacio and Pepe (cheese and pepper).

8. Heavy sauce pasta

Another of the facts about Italian pasta! Traditional Italian pasta is broken down between heavy sauce pasta and light sauce pasta. The reason is simple: pasta with ridges helps sauces cling to the pasta evenly. For instance, among the types of Italian pasta that call for heavy sauce, you can find conchiglie, farfalle, or fusilli. Conchiglie look like cups, or seashells, while fusilli look like screws. Farfalle are delicious in cold pasta dishes, with their butterfly shape. One of the most famous Italian dishes in the world is lasagne, which usually mixes tomato, cheese, and meat between sheets of pasta.

Everything that sounds like Italian pasta is a delight, and we will not miss out on spreading the word about ravioli. It is like pasta with a secret; a small parcel of pasta with stuffing. Stuffings are various and countless, with cheese, vegetables, fish, or meat. Once the ravioli is cooked, throw it in a sauce in a hot pan for a few seconds, before enjoying the best pasta you have ever eaten.

9. Mantecare: The secret to authentic Italian pasta

The verb “mantecare” in Italian describes the act of taking the pasta water off the stove one to two minutes before it is ready. To make pasta the Italian way, finish cooking the water in the sauce so it absorbs the sauce. That is one of the secrets to tasty, amazing pasta!

10. Famous Italian pasta

Traditional Italian pasta is declined in different versions everywhere you go in Italy. If you go to Bologna, you will find authentic Italian pasta alla bolognese, a tomato and meat-based sauce renowned worldwide. In Rome, one of the most famous Italian pasta is cacio e Pepe, a local dish created with pecorino romano cheese and pepper in a delicious sauce with character. Going down towards the South, you will find in Catania, Sicily, a dish called Pasta alla Norma. With this one, you can relish macaroni with a sauce that combines tomatoes, basil, fried eggplants, and grated ricotta cheese.

11. Pasta: ( Yes pasta goes to 11 ! )

There is nothing more important to Italians than pasta – the cooking process is a national belief, and Italians will defend pasta until their last day! Even if this pasta worship is often misunderstood in foreign countries, it is still something of motherland defense. To learn more about the secrets of pasta, check out this video of 2-Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco!

Wrapping up 10 Secrets of Italian Pasta

Authentic Italian pasta is more than just a dish that you come from abroad to taste. It is a particular texture, accompanied by particular, fresh, and tangy tastes. Cheese, meat, fish – the many types of Italian pasta fill up the stomach as well as the heart! If you have never tried the famous Italian pasta – although we doubt it, a trip to Italy will come in handy. In the meantime, maybe you would love to know more about real Italian food!