Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Guess what is the most delicious and easy-to-prepare meal that is a favourite of children and adults alike and originates from Italy? We made it easy for you, of course: pasta! With tomato or white sauce, long or short, stuffed or with vegetables, pasta is the best meal, a dish that never fails and that everyone will lick their fingers with.

At Monederosmart we want you to enjoy the best pasta in the world, so we bring you a useful and delicious buying guide where you can learn more about the immense world of pasta, because the variety is indescribable and choosing the best is a matter of knowledge.




The most important things

  • Pasta is a food prepared from a flour dough, usually wheat. Its place of origin is Italy, as it is the most popular food in that country. Its preparation is very basic, as all you need to do is boil it for a few minutes. Some say that the secret is in the sauce, but we will show you that it is not, it hides its own mysteries.
  • You would have to eat pasta every day of the year to be able to try all the different types that exist and have a very good memory to remember all their names. To make it easier to understand all its variety, we have decided to classify it as long, short and stuffed pasta.
  • The real secret of pasta is in the pasta itself. Its basic preparation involves many factors that make it special, for example its freshness or the additional ingredients in the recipe, as well as those made for special diets and, of course, how you prepare it.

The Best Pastas: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about pasta

Even if the sauce is the best recipe in the world, the pasta has to be good pasta. Far from thinking that all pasta is the same, this buying guide will give you all the details that will let you know why one pasta is preferable to another. Let's enjoy!

Eating pasta as a family means sharing the best moments.
(Photo: Olena Kachmar/ 123rf.com)

What is pasta made of?

Pasta is a food made from flour dough, usually wheat, but it can also be made from rice and other grains and is eaten with sauces, vegetables or meat. It is of Italian origin, but its popularity has spread all over the world, making it one of everyone's favourite foods.

Are there any benefits to eating pasta?

Among the great advantages of pasta is that it is very easy and quick to prepare. Just boil it for about 7 minutes and it's ready. It is so delicious that you can add elaborate sauces or just a little olive oil and tomato. And because it is dry, it can be stored.

It is the favourite food of children because, as well as being very tasty, it is fun to eat as the strips that make it up can be sucked up like a hoover. They come in all shapes and children are encouraged to eat while they play.

Advantages
  • It is easy and quick to prepare
  • the whole family likes it
  • it is non-perishable
  • it is very economical
Disadvantages
  • It is carbohydrate
  • it is high in calories
  • it contains gluten

Long, short or stuffed pasta - what should you pay attention to?

The variety of pasta is almost limitless. There are many variations, but we can classify them into three main types: long, short and stuffed. In any case, they are all delicious and have the virtue of disappearing as soon as they are served at the table.

Long. These are strips about 30 cm long and of different thicknesses. Depending on their shape, they have a different name. The most famous of all is the spaghetti, which is very thin. Then there are Bavette, Bucatini, Angel hair, Fettucce, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle, Pappardelle, among others. Each one offers a different eating experience.

Short. They are based on the same recipe as the long ones but are cut small. If we tell you the word macaroni, you will immediately know what we are talking about. But apart from macaroni there are also Rigatone, Farfalle, Fusilli, Cresti di Gallo, Radiatore, Ruote and pipette.

Stuffed. As they are fresh, they need to be refrigerated. Only creativity limits the filling, although the most popular ones are cheese, spinach and meat. You have probably tasted Ravioli and were left wanting more, but there are also tortelloni, gnocchi, Panzerotti, etc. and we could include lasagne and cannelloni here.

Long Short Short Stuffed
Freshness Dry Dry and fresh Fresh
Additional ingredients Seldom Yes Seldom
Special diets Yes Yes Seldom
Preparation In boiling water In boiling water, cold and gratin In boiling water

Pasta is a food prepared from a flour dough, usually wheat.
(Photo: Elena Shashkina/ 123rf.com)

Shopping criteria

Little by little we have come to know that the universe of pasta is wide in its form, but... there is still more, pasta is also differentiated by other factors that you should take into account when buying, after reading this buying guide, you won't be able to stop looking at the label.

Freshness

Pasta is made by kneading a dough made from flour, almost always wheat flour. It also contains water and sometimes egg. This dough is then stretched and cut into the required shape, after which it is moved on to the next step:

Drying. After stretching and cutting, the dough goes through a period of dehydration to make it dry. The intention is that when dry, the pasta is much more durable than when wet and can be stored. During cooking, a reverse process of hydration takes place. This non-perishable alternative is the best for quick life.

Fresh. Fresh pasta is exquisite. If you have the privilege of eating freshly made pasta, don't hesitate to indulge. They are usually bought fresh but frozen. Fresh pasta is usually filled pasta such as ravioli.

Artisan. These are those that are made on a small scale, i.e. not in big industry or by well-known brands. On the other hand, they are homemade and can be fresh or dried... the truth is that they are very tasty and their texture is special.

The children's favourite food, not only because it is very tasty but also because it is a lot of fun to eat. (Photo : Arturkurjan / 123rf.com)

Additional ingredients

While the base of pasta is flour, water and egg, many manufacturers and cooks add special ingredients to their recipes to make them even more delicious. These ingredients not only add flavour, but also nutrients to the pasta

Vegetables. Pasta with assorted vegetables or just spinach is already well known. In the supermarket you can identify them because they are colourful or green. They are delicious on the plate and are also rich in iron and folic acid, so they are ideal for children.

Egg. Not all pasta is made with eggs, in fact almost none; that's why when pasta is made with egg it says so on the label. Egg gives it a yellowish colour and consistency, while increasing its protein value. This pasta is not suitable for vegans.

Supplements. So-called enriched or fortified pasta has ingredients specially designed to make it more nutritious. Minerals and vitamins are added to enriched pasta, while milk, soya, etc. are added to fortified pasta.

Special diets

Until recently, pasta was only made from wheat, which excluded people with special diets, such as coeliacs, from being able to enjoy it. Fortunately, in recent years, the alternatives for these people have multiplied.

Gluten-free. To make gluten-free pasta, gluten-free flours are used which do not contain this protein, hence we can find corn, rice, quinoa or legume pastas. Among their benefits is that they are high in protein and nutrients. They have a special flavour that you should try at least once

Wholemeal. Wholemeal pasta is based on wheat flour, but it is wholemeal, which means that it preserves the fibre of the grain. The advantage of this pasta is that, being more fibrous, it is more digestible and the body absorbs fewer calories, which is why it is consumed by people on a slimming diet.

Organic. Organic pasta can be gluten-free, gluten-free or wholemeal, the characteristic is that it is made with organically grown ingredients and does not contain artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.

Preparation

The preparation of the pasta also has to do with the choice of pasta you make in the supermarket, since, according to its shape, cooking and texture, you can prepare different recipes. Although culinary creativity is the best part of cooking, there are a few things we could remind you of.

Cold pasta. These are those that once cooked are left to cool, even in the refrigerator, and are mixed with vegetables or any other ingredients of your choice, so that a kind of salad is made. Cold pastas are usually made with short pasta. It is an ideal choice for a picnic day.

Al dente. You may have heard the expression "al dente" used to refer to the point of firmness that pasta should have to make it pleasant to bite, being a little hard, but not raw. The expression comes from Italian and means "to the tooth". Play with the alchemy of cooking and discover the "al dente" point of your pasta.

Gratins. Pasta au gratin is most commonly lasagne and cannelloni, which are prepared in the oven. However, you can try short pasta gratin recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare. It is a perfect option for a dinner party at home.

(Featured image source: Bbtreesubmission/ 123rf.com)

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