Take Your Pasta To The Next Level
Pasta is one of Italy’s most basic, yet iconic foods. It's also worth noting that it is also one its most versatile—with just a few small changes, your regular pasta dishes can quickly be transformed into gourmet masterpieces!
Make Your Own
Although good quality dried pasta is increasingly easy to find, it still doesn’t compare with fresh homemade pasta. Making it from scratch gives you the freedom to experiment with different shapes, colors and flavors, and cook authentic Italian recipes with varieties that can’t be bought in the shops. If you own a pasta machine, making fresh pasta is surprisingly easy and can be relatively quick with a bit of practice. But if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you – a heavy rolling pin will get the job done with a bit of muscle, and if it's good enough for millions of Italian nonnas, it’s certainly good enough for us. Read our how to make fresh pasta guide for step-by-step instructions.
Add A Touch Of Color
The beautiful golden yellow color of pasta is so ingrained in our minds that something different always makes for a fun surprise. The most commonly used pasta colors are black (flavored with cuttlefish or squid ink), green (flavored with spinach) and red (flavored with tomato or beets). To create your own, take a look at our how-to guide. This same basic method is used for all the different pasta colors, allowing you to experiment and go crazy!
Incorporate New Flavors
Colored pasta looks fantastic, but tends to only add a subtle flavor to the finished pasta. To add a more punchy flavor, try adding finely chopped herbs to your dough. A wide variety can be used, but it works best when matched with the ingredients in the pasta’s accompanying sauce.
Stuffed pasta is a great way to use up leftover ingredients and is always fun to put together. Ravioli and tortellini are the most well-known shapes, but most regions throughout Italy have their own unique shapes and fillings. If it’s your first time making filled pasta, fear not – learn how to make ravioli with our easy to follow guide.
There are many clever ways of substituting pasta for other ingredients. Spiralized vegetables are particularly popular right now due to their numerous health benefits. Try using spiralized zucchini or carrots as your pasta substitute.
Don’t Knock Gnocchi
Although not pasta in the traditional sense, many do choose to classify gnocchi in the same group on the basis that the recipe uses the same ingredients, usually with added potato. However you define them, gnocchi are just as versatile as regular pasta and can be used interchangeably with most sauces. For best results, gnocchi should be shaped while the potatoes are still hot to avoid a chewy finish. This means gnocchi is much quicker to prepare than pasta, as the dough requires no resting time. Try making gnocchi at home with our how to guide.
Pasta doesn’t always need to be the star of the show. Drop a handful into your soup to add some bulk and turn it into more of a substantial meal. The classic Italian wedding soup is a meal in and of itself, and a warming bowl of Minestrone is one of the ultimate comfort foods!
There are over 350 different pasta shapes (at least), so why limit yourself to a select few? Traditional pasta recipes use shapes that best match their accompanying sauce – for example, tubular pastas are generally used with thicker, more chunky sauces, while long, thin pastas work best with looser, olive oil-based sauces.
Source: Great Italian Chefs