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Fresh or Dried Pasta

Fresh or dried pasta?  This is the age-old debate. 

Does the convenience of dried pasta outweigh the quality? 

Many people assume the main factors between the two choices are accessibility and quality.  

However, picking between fresh and dried pasta really comes down to your needs.

While fresh pasta may seem more time consuming, it is more accessible than many realize. Most stores today will carry high quality options for both dried and fresh pasta. Both options can be used in different dishes and serve different needs.

Background

Pasta can be traced back to many cultures, however, the kind that usually comes to mind is the traditionally hand rolled version from Italy. 

Due to their many fresh herbs and seasonings, Italian pasta could be flavored and served in endless variations. It’s simple ingredients and affordability made the dish a staple in the region. 

While the dish has spread across the globe, Italians still hold the record for its consumption. According to Justin Demetri in his book “History of Pasta,” It is estimated that Italians eat over 60 Ib of pasta per person, compared to Americans who only eat about 9 Ib. 

Dried vs Fresh

So what’s the main differences between dried and fresh pasta? 

Many people assume dried pasta is just a dried out version of fresh pasta. This is not the case.  

Fresh pasta is made from a simple dough of eggs and all purpose flour. The dough is hand kneaded and thinly rolled before being cut into long noodles.  

Dried pasta is typically made with a paste of finely ground semolina, flour, and water. This paste is then fed through a mold, and can take on many shapes.  The pasta is then dried at a low temp for multiple days until all moisture is gone. 

Each has a place in the kitchen. 

Despite the constant comparisons, one is not necessarily better than the other. Both have strengths and serve different purposes. 

Fresh pasta is more delicate, it should be used in lighter dishes that won’t overpower its flavor or texture.  Dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo work well with the noodles’ delicate structure. 

Known for its al dente structure, dried pasta is best suited for heavier dishes like Spaghetti.  Because it can be transported more easily and stored for longer periods of time, Dried Pasta is a great option for those who are looking for a pantry staple. 

Conclusion

Rather than focusing on convenience or quality, try to use the pasta that will best suit your dish. Remember that fresh doesn’t always mean better, and dried is not necessarily more convenient. 

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