What is pasta made from?

Hey Matt,

Could you tell me... what are the differing types of pasta made from and where do the ingredients originate?

Thanks.

Answer:

Hi there, good question and not an easy one to answer without writing a book!

Generally speaking, pasta in Italy was traditionally a cheap food embraced by peasants, due to it being made from just durum wheat flour and water (see this egg-free pasta dough recipe).

This is the same approach in fact as Asian cultures use to make noodles. These simply use different types of flour (see this page for a better description of that).

A more modern type of pasta is egg pasta, which uses general/all-purpose or, ideally, super-fine flour (also called 'double zero/00/doppia zero') and egg instead of water. This is my favorite type of pasta.

There is a wonderful book on the history of Italian food available called Delizia, which is a fantastically engaging read. It includes lots of pasta info, including how it actually originated in the East, but was most heavily adopted in Italy. If interested, you'll find it on Amazon.com here.

Hope that's a helpful starter,

Matt.

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