What Do You Know About Italian Pasta and Pizza?

There are two main categories of pasta used in Italian food, dried pasta and fresh pasta. Right now there are over 350 different shapes and varieties of dried pasta being used in Italian food. Some varieties are common and others are specific to a certain regional area. The shapes used in Italian food can range from the classic tubes and strands to butterflies or bowties and even unique shapes such as tennis rackets. Italian food is taken very seriously in Italy and by law all dried pasta is required to be made with pure durum semolina flour and water. This standard is adhered to by most pasta makers all over the world and only this type of dried pasta is used in good quality Italian food.

Pasta should be dried for a specific amount of time in a specific temperature depending on the variety. Pasta made in Italy is allowed to dry for long periods of time, up to fifty hours, and at relatively low temperatures. Companies outside of Italy typically dry their pasta at high temperatures in order to get it dried quicker. This method comes at a price and diminishes the quality of the pasta and the resulting Italian food.

When a variation of pasta can be either dried or fresh it is sometimes argued that the fresh style is best. Making fresh pasta is a point of pride for many Italian households and is reflected in the quality of the Italian food that they prepare.

Today one only has to look at the numbers to see just how big a role pasta plays in Italian food. Italians eat over three times as much pasta as Americans. Their pasta consumption is over sixty pounds per person per year. It's no wonder that pasta is considered the cornerstone of Italian food. In fact, pasta is used so extensively in Italian food that Italy must import most of its wheat in order to keep up with the demand. This popularity of pasta and Italian food has caused pasta to be mass produced. This has lead to an inferior quality of pasta being used in American Italian food. The best pasta is still found in Italy where they stick to the same recipes handed down through the generations. A true Italian food lover must try some authentic pasta made in Italy if they want to capture the authentic taste of Italian food.

On pizza

It was in the Middle Ages that pizza began to take a form that would be more familiar to Italian food lovers today. Pizza started out being just as dough topped with herbs and olive oil. Once mozzarella cheese began to be produced from Indian Water Buffalo it quickly became a signature aspect of pizza. Today at any true Italian food eatery this fresh mozzarella di buffalo is nonnegotiable. The dried shredded mozzarella that is often associated with Italian food would actually never be used on a pizza made by a true Italian food chef.

So for real Italian food pizza it is necessary to step out of the confining ideas of just a few types of pizza and open your mind to the different possibilities. Italian food is full of variety and you could literally spend a year in Italy just trying all the different styles of pizza that made Italian food so universally popular.

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About The Author, Penny Maseko
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