Pasta is an important staple food of Italy, which has since spread around the world. The history of pasta is disputed, but information about the modern pasta with which we are all familiar dates back to the 13th century. In the 14th and 15th century dried pasta became commonly available and was favored because it could be stored for a relatively long period of time. Today, there are hundreds of different varieties of pasta and these are still loosely categorized into dried or fresh pasta. Dried pasta is most commonly used in home cooking because it is widely available. Let’s find out how pasta is made.
How is pasta made?
The main ingredients of pasta are simply semolina (from durum wheat), salt and water. Some fresh pasta contains egg, which makes it softer than dried pasta.
Pasta is made commercially by mixing all of the ingredients together with a variety of mixing machines until it makes a dough of the correct consistency. This dough in then passed through steel molds. Different molds are used to create the many different shapes and types of pasta available. Just after the dough passes through the mold and is formed into the correct shape it is cut into small pieces. This pasta is then dried and packaged for shipping. The following video shows different varieties of pasta being made in a large factory:
Homemade pasta is made in a similar way. The dough is made by hand and is then passed through a hand roller, often called a pasta maker, until it is thin enough. This can then be cooked straight away or left to dry.
Did you know?
Legend has it that Marco Polo brought pasta back from China in the 13th century. This story is still told as fact in many cases, but most historians have long dismissed this as a myth.