Fresh pasta VS dry pasta: The Verdict
Pasta - one of the most recognised and loved foods in the world. In fact, we’d be hard-pressed to find a food that better unites people around a dining table. Still, this humble yet much revered dish is the subject of heated debate all over the world. The argument centres around food snobbery; the idea that fresh pasta is better than dry pasta.
So, here today, we aim to resolve this matter once and for all. That fresh pasta is somehow better than dry pasta is a common misconception outside Italy. They are not. Dry and fresh pasta are simply two separate varieties produced for different dishes. Which is used depends on the sauce it will be served with.
Fresh pasta is more commonly used in Northern Italian cuisine. It’s made of egg and extra water and tends to be smoother, tender and cooks quicker. It is more expensive to buy and must always be stored in a refrigerator. Dried pasta originated from Southern Italy and made from semolina flour, water and salt. It is then air-dried for firmness and rough texture to allow richer sauces to cling to. The term al dente was made for dried pasta and does not apply to its fresh counterpart.
How best to use your fresh or dried pasta? Glad you asked. Long dried pastas such as spaghetti, linguine and rigatoni work best with tomato based sauces with chunky meat, garlic, anchovies and chopped vegetables. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is ideal for sauces which are more delicate and use melted butter or milk as a base. Carbonara, tagliatelle and pappardelle are fine examples of fresh pasta.
So, the verdict on this debate is that it is the sauce which dictates the pasta you use which is always merely the vehicle for the sauce. These pairings have been tried and tested and are deeply rooted in regional Italian cuisine.
However, we also know that cooking is about trial, error and joyous discovery. As such we strongly suggest that you try the pasta and sauce pairings to your liking. A debate about which pasta is better contradicts the generous, family-focused spirit of an Italian kitchen. Instead we recommend gathering ingredients, inviting friends and family and cooking a hearty meal to be relished and enjoyed around a table. It’s the Italian way.