World Pasta Day: Different types of pasta and how to cook them
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Today (October 25) is World Pasta Day. Pasta is one of the world's most loved dishes, and today we celebrate it.
This is a day given to celebrate the joy that is pasta - from spaghetti, macaroni, and penne, to gnocchi, fusilli, tagliatelle and ravioli.
While there is not much difference in taste when it comes to different shapes, there is no doubt that some types work better than others in specific dishes.
Cooking pasta is easy until it goes wrong. And then it’s a disaster.
In a recent interview with Durban Country Club Executive Chef, Xanthos Giannakopoulos, he said that when cooking pasta, timing is important. Giannakopoulos said the sauce and pasta should be ready at the same time.
“In many recipes such as carbonara, bad timing would result in bad pasta. Mix the pasta with the sauce as soon as it is ready. Leaving the pasta on its own might result in sticking. With very few exceptions, pasta should be served immediately. According to an Italian saying, “The guest should wait for the pasta, not the pasta for the guest”, said Giannakopoulos.
Below we look at some of the different types of pasta and how to cook them.
Spaghetti is a long, thin, solid, cylindrical pasta made of flour and water and sometimes enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Fun spaghetti and meatballs
Mediterranean Delicacies Greek feta
Mediterranean Delicacies Kalamata olives
Cook spaghetti according to instructions on the packet.
Dice up onion and mix well with mince, add salt and pepper for taste.
Create mince balls by rolling the mince in the palm of your hand.
Place meatballs into a pan with oil on a low heat and allow cooking.
Place spaghetti in a circular shape on a plate and decorate with parsley.
Add cooked meatballs to the spaghetti.
Cut carrots into triangles for the beaks.
Add little balls of Mediterranean Delicacies Greek Feta for the eyes dotted with Mediterranean Delicacies Kalamata Olives.
Penne is a short cylindrical pasta, ideal for thicker sauces that can fill up the cylinder.
500g Penne pasta, cooked
400g Peppadew Piquanté Pepper and olive pasta sauce
3 anchovy fillets
100g camembert cheese, sliced
2 tbsp onion, white diced
4 basil leaves, fresh shredded
1 chilli, freshly chopped
In a saucepan heat the oil and sauté the onions.
Add the anchovy fillets and Peppadew Piquanté Pepper and Olive pasta sauce; stir well.
Add the basil leaves, chillies and pasta; sauté for a minute.
Mix in the Camembert cheese and serve
Chef’s tip: Replace Camembert cheese with mozzarella cheese for a lighter flavour.
For a classic touch add 30ml capers.
Macaroni is dry pasta shaped like narrow tubes. Made with durum wheat, macaroni is cut in short lengths; curved macaroni is sometimes called elbow macaroni.
Macaroni and cheese
410g Italian-style Sliced Tomatoes
500g Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the packet.
Grease a large ovenproof dish with butter.
Spoon half the macaroni into the dish.
Top with tomato slices, followed by cheese.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Repeat layering and seasoning; finish with a layer of cheese and tomatoes on top.
Cut butter into pieces and place on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and tomatoes are baked through.
Ravioli is a type of pasta comprising a filling enveloped in thin pasta dough. Usually served with a sauce they are commonly square though circular and semicircular ravioli is also popular.
500 g of high grade 00 flour
1 pinch of salt
300g potatoes chopped and cooked in salted water
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 spoon of Parmigiano (Parmesan) cheese
Parsley and garlic
Place flour in a mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the centre.
Crack the eggs into the well and add salt.
Whisk eggs together inside the well using a fork, then gradually fold in the flour from the outside for at least 10 minutes until the flour is smooth and elastic.
Use your hands to mix until the dough is soft.
If the dough seems too hard, add 2 tablespoons of warm water.
Wrap up the dough in cling wrap and allow it to stand for 1 hour.
Cool the potatoes, then peel and mash finely.
Sauté garlic and parsley with oil in a pan.
Add in the potatoes, Parmesan cheese, salt, nutmeg and egg.
Mix well and the stuffing is ready.
Combining the two
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough using a rolling pin.
Roll the dough through a pasta machine to paper thin (most machines will have a recommended setting for ravioli). Dust with a little flour between each roll if needed.
With a cutter, make circles with a diameter of 15cm.
Insert stuffing in the centre of each circle. Fold and close in a crescent shape pressing the edges to seal. With a fork, mark the outside border.
Place the ravioli on a tray with lots of flour. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes.
Serve with your favourite pasta sauce and cover with lashings of fresh parmesan.