The heart and soul of Old World cuisine, Italian pasta is used in a seemingly limitless combination of toppings and sauces. With a long and multicultural past, the world’s first noodles can be traced back to central Asia. From there, it made its way westward; how it came to Europe is unclear. Some historians believe it was introduced by nomadic Arabs while other theories speculate that it was brought to Italy by Marco Polo on his Silk Road travels. Once it reached the Mediterranean, the production was refined with durum wheat, which gave it a longer shelf life and a tender texture. Over the centuries, Italian pasta has changed very little, a testament to the incredible power of the world’s ultimate comfort food. Read More
How is Italian Pasta made?
A simple combination of flour, water, and eggs, noodles are enjoyed all over the world and every culture has their own version. What sets Italian pasta apart from the other types is the durum wheat, which has a high gluten content and low moisture, making it excellent for pasta production. The unleavened dough is rolled into sheets and then cut into a wide variety of lengths and shapes. Some pasta is made fresh (pasta fresca) and filled with pesto, meat, and other delicacies.
How to cook Italian Pasta like an Italian?
Everybody has their own cooking methods for noodles, but if you want authentic Italian pasta, you should start with water in a large pot: the general rule is 1 liter/quart to 100g of pasta. Bring the water to a boil and then add a tablespoon of rock salt. Keep in mind that when cooking pasta like an Italian, you will be using some of the leftover pasta water to add to the sauce and noodles. The secret to a delicious, Italian grandmother-approved sauce is the pasta water, which needs to be salted sufficiently in order to enhance all of the flavors.
After adding salt to the boiling water, let it return to a boil and follow the instructions on the package. For long pasta like spaghetti and fettuccine, make sure to continuously stir with a fork to ensure that the strands don’t get stuck together. When it comes to cooking time, ‘al dente’ is the preferred texture for Italian pasta. Literally meaning ‘to the tooth,’ ‘al dente’ is characterized by a firm yet tender texture, which is ideal for Italian pasta since the noodles continue to cook after straining out the water. Keep in mind that ‘al dente’ is subjective, so we recommend using the suggesting cooking time as a guide while testing the noodles yourself. Once your pasta is finished cooking, drain the noodles and keep a cup of pasta water to the side.
How you prepare the sauce is just as important as your noodle cooking technique. In Italian cooking, the blending of sauce and pasta is an essential cooking skill that is referred to as ‘mantecare’ or ‘mantecatura.’ The secret to the best Italian pasta is simple: add some pasta water to the sauce and noodles, mix with gusto, and presto! Your Italian pasta will be fully emulsified with the sauce and the texture will tender but not overcooked.
How many types of Italian pasta are there?
From Angel Hair to Ziti, Supermarket Italy has every type of authentic pasta imaginable. When selecting the right pasta, consider the shape and texture and how it will please your palate. For example, long strand pasta like Spaghetti, Fettuccini, and the tubular Bucatini have a tender mouth-feel, which provides you with a softer and more delicate bite. Spirals and shells like Fusilli, Rigatoni, or Rotelle are great for those who prefer more robust pasta shapes with a firmer texture. Smaller pasta shapes like Anellini, Orzo, and Fregola Sarda are perfect for incorporating small pasta shapes to dishes, and they have a texture similar to rice. Keep it fresh with Supermarket Italy’s selection of Pasta Fresca (Fresh Pasta) made with wholesome ingredients that are Italian grandmother-tested and approved.
For those with gluten sensitivities, Supermarket Italy also carries an extensive selection of Italian gluten-free pasta made with corn, which gives it a similar texture of traditional pasta but without the gluten.
The Best Sauces for Italian Pasta
The secret to great Italian cooking is the sauce, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to make it from scratch. Our selection of premium quality sauces and pasta will transform your favorite pasta into a satisfying meal that everyone will love. For an easy weeknight meal that can be put together in a snap, keep your pantry stocked with top brands like La Valle, Culuccio, and La Fiammante.
At Supermarket Italy, we feature an extensive collection of the best Italian pasta imported from Italy. From angel hair and rigatoni to spaghetti and gluten-free options, we have everything you need for creating multiple variations of your favorite pasta recipes.