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Some of the hollow or tubular pastas are elbow macaroni (most often used for macaroni and cheese or macaroni salad. Elbow macaroni usually comes in two sizes. The large size is great for casseroles and the smaller sizes are good used in soup such as minestrone or vegetable. Large width tubular pastas are ziti which again comes in several sizes penne rigatoni and cannelloni. Cannelloni are usually about 3 inches long and are served stuffed with a cheese or meat filling and topped with a marinara or meat sauce. The twisted pastas include Fusilli Bucati Gemeli Rotelli (Wagon Wheels). The twisted pastas are good for heavy sauces. Their shape will help to retain the sauce whereas with the smooth thin pastas the heavy sauces will just run off back into the plate. Fusilli are also nice for seafood pasta salads.
Most manufacturers will put the recommended cooking time on the package. Pasta should always be cooked al dente which literally means to the tooth. You should be able to bite easily into pasta; it should not be hard or dry nor should it be mushy. If using the pasta for casseroles or lasagna the pasta may be slightly undercooked as more cooking will take place in the oven and the added sauce will be absorbed by the pasta and help to soften it also. Fresh pastas should be cooked in the same manner as the dried pastas but the cooking time will be considerably shorter. Fresh pasta usually cooks in one or two minutes. Always test the pasta by taking out a piece running it under cold water and tasting it to be sure it is the way you like it. Take your time and learn a little about each of the types of pasta. Start with one and try different sauces and meat variations with it. Once you have become familiar with one type (this can include different thicknesses) then move on and try another.
No sauce is needed to savour such a nourishing food. No matter what serve the pasta piping hot! Never ever serve lukewarm or cold pasta. PASTA SECRET #7: PRACTICE! I did my part. I shared the jealously guarded secrets handed down in the Bontempi family from generation to generation since the times Rome was a just rustic village on the Mediterranean sea and pasta was still made of *farro* (spelt flour). Now it is really up to you. Let me part by saying: Practice practice practice! Invite friends over or treat yourself and your dear ones to some simple satvic pasta or some zesty one. Remember a good pasta lover eat pasta at least 5 times a week. You may wonder why you need to make fresh pasta when you can buy many types of dried pastas in a variety of flavors in most grocery stores today.