Pasta 101

April 15, 2012

Pasta is quick and easy and adding a bunch of veggies can make it a well rounded healthy meal. Here’s a quick reference for shopping for pasta

What is Pasta?
Pasta is a carbohydrate food made from flour and water, with or without vegetables or eggs, and available fresh, dried, or canned.
How to Buy:
Dried in bulk or packaged, can also buy refrigerated with fresh selections, or cooked in cans.
Dried pasta contains either semolina (from the Italian, semola, for flour), a coarser version of hard durum wheat; durum wheat, mixed flours, whole grain flours, quinoa, corn, rice, and others. Gluten free is available.
How to Read the Label:
Check expiration date; usually 1 year. Pastas may be enriched with folic acid, fiber, and inulin. Check for country of origin, type of flour or grain used.
Both organic and conventional domestic and imported brands of dried spaghetti and macaroni available in 100s of styles and shapes. Some have added eggs, spinach, tomato, peppers or carrots for flavor and color. Whole grain pasta is denser and requires longer cooking. Rice, quinoa, corn and Jerusalem artichoke dried pasta are excellent for gluten-free diets.
How to Use:
All dried pasta must be boiled; check packages for cooking time as all differ. Fresh pasta should be cooked in less time or it will be mushy; use within 2 days of purchase. For cold salads, rinse pasta and drain, then add ingredients.
How to Store:
Store cans, and packaged dried pasta in dark closet. Tightly wrap open packages or put in closed containers; refrigerate open cans and all leftover cooked pasta; keeps 3-5 days.
Smarter Shopping:
Store brands are cheaper. Imported may have better ingredients. Always read labels!
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