10 Things You Didn’t Know About Italian Pasta

30 August 2021 || Pasta

Italy is undoubtedly the home of great pasta. With every region from every corner of the country offering its own specialities the possibilities are endless and at vorrei.co.uk we are proud to offer you a wide selection of high quality Italian Pasta Online. To help you make your selections and enjoy your pasta to the fullest here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about pasta.

Types of Italian pasta

A Whole Lot of History

The origins of pasta have long been debated, legend has it that famed explorer Marco Polo introduced noodles to Italy in the 12th Century, however historical records show that there are reports dating back from China as early as 5,000 BC of people eating pasta and in Italy itself the pre-Roman Etruscan civilisation had already been making their own pasta by smashing grain with rocks and mixing it with water to create dough. Pasta and tomato sauce is now an iconic combination, but it was thousands of years of pasta eating before tomato sauce was added. Tomatoes were not introduced to Europe until 1519, before that pasta was eaten dry by hand.

There is an Art to it!

Italian spaghetti in a pan

If you want to enjoy your pasta Italian style, there is definitely a knack to it. To start with always use a very large pan with lots of water to ensure the pasta has plenty of space to move around. The pasta water should be well salted (1.5 teaspoons of salt per litre of water) as the pasta needs plenty of salt to toughen the surface and to stop it becoming slimy. Italian pasta should always be cooked ‘al dente’ which translated means ‘to the tooth’. The pasta should be tender but still firm to the bite rather than being soft and squidgy. If you take your pasta cooking very seriously then you can even buy special pasta pans with a built in sieve so you don’t have to pour your precious pasta water down the sink.

It’s all about the Sauce

Keeping that aforementioned precious pasta water is an extremely important part of making pasta sauces in Italy. It is used as a combination of stock and thickening agent due to the amount of starch and salt in it. When you are looking to buy pasta online it is helpful to remember that different sauces suit different types of pasta. Long, flat Italian pasta such as Fettuccine or Linguine are best paired with a creamy sauce as it clings better to this particular pasta shape. Thicker and chunkier tomato sauces tend to work better with pasta in short, tubular or spiral shapes such as Fusilli.

It’s a No No!

Step away from the oil! Adding oil to Italian pasta actually makes it too slick and slippery for any sauce to stay on it properly. Don’t just leave your pasta cooking and put your feet up! Use a big pan and lots of water and stir, stir, stir so the pasta does not stick together. Contrary to popular belief throwing your pasta against a wall and seeing if it sticks is not a great way to check whether the pasta is cooked; the key is in the taste so keep trying it as you go, overcooking Italian pasta is especially frowned upon! Rinsing your pasta immediately after cooking will mean you have wasted all your hard work. Al Dente pasta has just the right amount of starches to absorb the sauce you are serving it with, which is where pasta gets its flavour.

Carbohydrates and Carbonara

Great news, there is no need to feel guilty when ordering your Italian Pasta Online, because pasta is good for you. It is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. It helps to provide your body with energy that is slowly released overtime. The glucose contained in pasta is also a crucial fuel for both your brain and your muscles. If you are monitoring your cholesterol levels, then pasta is a perfect addition to your diet as it is low in sodium and cholesterol free. Enriched varieties of pasta are fortified with essential nutrients such as folic acid and B vitamins.

Happy Days

And in even better news…. pasta can make you happier! The carbohydrates in pasta apparently increase the body’s serotonin production; the neurotransmitter that scientists believe trigger feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Yet another reason to visit vorrei.co.uk and order your Italian Pasta Online.

How Many?!

According to the International Pasta Organisation there are more than 600 different shapes of pasta produced throughout the world, of which Italy is responsible for a huge 350 different forms, with each one having a meaning or a purpose as they are all a product from the rich culture of the specific region of Italy, they were created in. Pasta can also come in a variety of colours whilst the majority are cream coloured some pasta is made using spinach making it green whilst red pasta is made using tomatoes and black pasta is made using squid ink. There is also a pasta called cellophane because it is transparent when cooked.

Like Mamma Used to Make!

There is nothing more that Italians love to do than gather everyone together to cook and enjoy great food and good conversation. A traditional Italian meal can be at least 6 courses long and last several hours. Pasta is traditionally the second of three savoury courses in a full Italian meal. It is known as the Primo and is served between the Antipasto (starter) and Secondo (meat/fish course).

Italians Do it Better!

Around 3 million tonnes of pasta are produced in Italy every year with the average Italian consuming 23.5kgs annually and with their healthy diet emulated around the world they must be doing something right. Italy’s most popular pasta is Penne, a quill-shaped pasta with ridges that help to retain the sauce. A close second is Spaghetti, surely one of Italy’s most iconic pasta shapes (and never to be used with a bolognese sauce!) Coming in third place is Fusilli, a short, twisted pasta found in many recipes across Southern Italy. Even the names of the pasta sound better in Italian, would you prefer Vermicelli or Small Worms? Or how about Small Tongues instead of Linguine?

Pasta Pranks

Finally, who knew that pasta played a starring role in televisions first April Fool’s Day prank? In 1957 a fake news story was shown on British T.V. showing a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from their very own spaghetti tree. As spaghetti was not yet well recognised or available at the time the British viewers fell for the joke hook, line and sinker!

So hopefully now you are a pasta expert from Fusilli to Rigatoni, when you visit our website vorrei.co.uk you will be able to find everything you are looking for when buying Italian Pasta Online. We provide only the best, locally sourced and traditionally made pasta, in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are wanting something quick and easy for a family meal or are planning a celebratory dinner there is something to suit every occasion. Oh…..and don’t forget the sauce!

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