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Home Made Pasta

Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine and is generally a simple dish, but comes in large varieties because it is a versatile, nutritious and an economical food item. It is a fact today that pasta comes in more than 600 varieties. Typically, pasta made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, and eggs.

  • Pasta secca describes the pasta made from durum semolina and water, which is sold dried and rarely made at home.
  • Pasta Fresca means the fresh Home-made pasta, with dough consisting of wheat flour and eggs. Most dried pasta is commercially produced via an extrusion process.
  • Fresh pasta was traditionally produced by hand, sometimes with the aid of simple machines but today many varieties of fresh pasta are also commercially produced by large-scale machines. Nothing is lighter than home-made fresh pasta!

As a category in Italian cuisine, both dried and fresh pastas are classically used in one of three kinds of prepared dishes.

  • As pasta asciutta (or pastasciutta) cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary sauce or condiment.
  • A second classification of pasta dishes is pasta in brodo in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish.
  • A third category is pasta al forno in which the pasta incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked
  • Pasta is quick to cook and is always successful, if you follow a couple of basic rules.
  • The pot you are using should be as big and as deep as possible, because pasta needs room to move, to prevent it from sticking together.
  • Fresh pasta absorbs more sauce and flavor and expands less when cooking than dry. A good rule is to allow a fourth more. Use a large enough pot to hold a minimum of 3 liters of water and allow for a rolling boil. Allow 4 liters to every 500 gms of pasta. Never use less than 3 liters even for small amounts.
  • Salt the water well with at least 1-1/2 tablespoons to every 500 ml of water. This is the secret to good tasting pasta.
  • The water must keep bubbling throughout the whole cooking time.
  • The cooking time is calculated according to the size of the pasta.
  • Fresh pasta will take shorter time than dry pasta.
  • Filled pasta must be cooked with care, as if the water boils too violently, the pasta may get damaged.
  • When the water is rolling, drop in the pasta stir around once. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes until al dente!
  • Drain quickly into a large strainer .Toss a very small amount of butter or oil with a fork to keep it separated. If you do not wish to use the butter or oil and your pasta has adhered together in the strainer or colander pour over a little very hot water and stir. Works every time.
  • The combination of pasta and a delicious sauce is almost a science in itself.
  • Filled pasta like ravioli , pansotti, cappelletti or tortellini, have so much flavour of their own that they only need to be served with a little sage butter or a very light tomato sauce.
  • A Tagliolini made by fresh home-made pasta dough should never be overwhelmed by a powerful sauce. A few truffle shavings, a little butter, a spoonful of parmesan are quite sufficient.
  • Robust sauces with large pieces of vegetables such as broccoli or meat need robust pasta which will hold and carry the ingredients and sauce. Try the tube shaped ones such as rigatoni, macaroni, penne, or chifferi (elbow) or shells and fusilli (spiral shaped).
  • Aglio e olio: Olive oil and garlic suit long pasta like spaghetti and linguine.
  • Ai frutti di mare : Seafood is only suitable for very thin, long pasta like spaghetti or capellid'angelo.
  • All' amatriciana: A sauce of tomatoes and bacon suits long tubular pasta like bucatini and macaroni.
  • Alla napoletana : This classic tomato sauce suits almost all kinds of pasta.
  • Burro e salvia: Butter and sage improve all kinds of pasta , even the stuffed pasta.
  • Carbonara : This sauce of bacon, cheese and egg suits long thin pasta
  • Pesto : This amazing blend of basil ,olive oil , pine kernels, parmesan cheese and garlic suits the strips as well as long thin kinds and even complements the stuffed pastas as well.
  • Ragu alla bologenese: Minced meat sauce, which suits all long kinds pasta and can be used as a filling for lasagna.
  • Never lid the cooking pasta.
  • Give pasta an occasional stir now and again to prevent sticking.
  • Never rinse unless you intend to make a cold salad. Rinsing removes the starch which helps the sauce adhere.
  • Never break long pasta to fit into the pan. Apply gentle pressure as the pasta softens and bend the strands. Wait a few moments and give a stir.

Chef Ashish Bhasin

'A happy heart makes happy food' is the philosophy that Executive Chef Ashish Bhasin wakes up to every morning.

An IHM Pusa, New Delhi graduate with over 16 years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Ashish specializes in western cuisine and ensures that each dish he creates reflects his passion for food.


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