- Making Pasta -

By Karenza

1. What is Pasta?

Whenever we think of pasta, the first thing that might come to mind is a plate of noodles mixed into a certain amount of sauce.
While that isn't wrong, pasta technically refers to the noodles minus the sauce. (Though even then, that is still a simplistic description.) Pasta refers to a particular food ingredient that is made using flour and water.

2. Making Pasta

In order to make pasta, you must first make some dough by using flour. You can add olive oil, eggs, or even champagne, into the dough for flavor. Some people may even add special aromatic herbs, but it is not required. The main ingredient for pasta is known as semolina, which is a type of flour that is made from the purified millings of hard wheat.

Making dough out of flour actually takes great effort. But it is important to keep at it until it becomes soft. The combination of ingredients is certainly an important factor, but don't forget that the dedication and love you put into the dough also determines a lot of your results as well.
When the dough becomes soft, you can start cutting the dough into even lengths. Consider the size and shape of the pasta, which can go a long way in terms of presentation.

3. Types of Pasta

There are a variety of pasta shapes, depending on the type of pasta dish you would like to create. For instance, there are pasta such as macaroni and penne, which are specifically made for holding the sauce within the shell. The more common noodle shapes of spaghetti--fettucine, farfalle, and fusilli--are more intricately shaped pasta noodles. Finally, there's also the wide-shaped lasagna noodles which are meant for piling between meat, cheese, vegetables, and sauce.

There is one very important step that you must always remember when making any type of pasta. It is important to rub the pasta with oil after you cut it up into pieces so that the strands or pieces do not stick to each other. Otherwise, you might just have one tangled mess!

4. Boiling the Pasta

When boiling pasta, you must consider the amount of water and the time it takes to boil. Whatever the amount of pasta you are using, I would recommend pouring about 10 times the amount of water in the pot. When the water starts to boil, scoop in a large spoon of salt so that the pasta will cook all the way through. Certainly, many people also enjoy their pasta a little less cooked, which is just fine. In fact, many can attest to a more enhanced flavor of the pasta when it's the noodles are less cooked, which is called 'al dente' by many professional cooks.
Anyway, once the water begins to boil, place the pasta in the pot and slightly stir it around. This is to ensure that the pasta will not stick to each other. Be sure to stir the pasta around every once in awhile. The amount of time it takes to boil the pasta will vary depending on the size and type of pasta, and perhaps the only and best advice is to say practice and experiment! As with many other things in life, much of this will come with experience.

5. Pasta Sauces

Once the pasta is done, all you have to do is pour the sauce over it. Now, you will have a delicious pasta dish ready to be served. Of course, depending on how good your sauce is, the taste of your pasta dish will be determined as well. You can use all types of ingredients to make your sauce, pretty much anything from seafood to poultry to other non-meat items. Just keep in mind that certain pastas tend to go better with particular types of sauces.
For long, thin pasta, try using a lighter and thiner sauce. For thicker but long pasta, consider using a slightly thicker sauce that would blend well with the texture. For any pasta that is short or particularly shaped, such as the bowtie or fusilli, try serving a thick sauce as well.
Anyways, look to apply these tips and I am sure your pasta will turn out great. Here's to a happy and adventurous life in the kitchen!