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Home made pasta is particularly good for filled pastas such as ravioli. You can make your own filling to your own taste that way. Whether you make your own pasta buy fresh pasta or dried pasta you will need a large pan in which to cook it. When I say large I mean larger than you think. Most pans are too small to cook pasta successfully. The pan should be made of a material that is a good conductor of heat. Many stainless steel pans are not good conductors of heat and will let your pasta sit in the water going soggy. The reason that you need a big pan for pasta is that the secret of cooking pasta is to have plenty of water. That way the individual pieces of pasta are kept separate and do not stick together. The water must be brought to a good rolling boil before the pasta is added.
There are all manner of pasta and range in price from one dollar a pound on up to $10 a pound or more for hand-made pasta. Before we go too crazy here and make your mind spin with all the pastas available let s just get down to basics and explain the differences between the most commonly used pastas how they are normally used and the types of sauces that go well with them. We will start out with the flat pastas which include lasagna linguini fettuccini and papparadelle. Dried Lasagna noodles are usually about 2-3" wide and can be purchased in boxes either uncooked or precooked. Domestic lasagna noodles are longer than the imported ones; however most of the imported ones are of a better quality. You can usually also purchase fresh pasta which can be used for lasagna from your local Italian deli. Lasagna may either be served simply with a Bolognese (meat) sauce with shredded parmesan or more traditionally as a layered casserole.
It is the most widely known and can be found all over the world. But it is easy to go wrong with it and to end up with a soggy uninspiring mess. As with all the most basic foods the key to cooking good pasta is to choose good quality ingredients. The simpler the food the more important quality becomes. Poor quality can be less easily disguised in a simple pasta dish than in something more elaborate. Good quality pasta is made from durum wheat. Many people swear by fresh pasta rather than dried. They feel that fresh pasta must be more authentic than dried. But in Italy cooks will often choose dried pasta for preference. A good quality dried pasta made from durum what is always preferable to a poor quality fresh pasta. What you are looking for is a dried pasta made with 100 per cent durum wheat and preferably made by an Italian company according to traditional methods.