Professor Tiffany Young
November 14, 2011
There are as many ways to use pasta as there are types; while many of the differences are subtle the most prominent is centered on the use of either fresh or dry pasta. Some swear the taste of fresh pasta is far better than that of dry while others are willing to take the trade on the basis of saving time. But the decision always seems to come down to “dry” or “fresh”.
The use of dry pasta is a relatively new process coming about in the last eighty years. This may seem like a long time but when compared to how long pasta has been being made, several thousand years, eighty years is not all that long. Dry pasta is mass produced using the cheapest ingredients and then dehydrated in a factory. Where the cook makes fresh pasta, using the best and freshest ingredients they can find. As stated, when pasta is made fresh the cook can decide to use the best ingredients available and season the product to their preference. Dry or boxed pasta comes as is and the process of rehydrating it causes it to lose more of its limited flavor base.
When rehydrating the dry pasta the process is the same as cooking fresh pasta, as they both have to be hydrated before serving, only longer in duration. This little fact leads one to question whether or not the cook is actually saving time by using dry pasta. In the time it takes to rehydrate dry pasta fresh pasta can be made and cooked with an end result that is more palatable.
The real benefit of using dry pasta lies in the variety of shapes and sizes. While it is possible to make most if not all of the same sized using the fresh process it is considerably more difficult. One can buy almost any shape and size of dry pasta and prepare it with relative ease where making similar shapes is a very difficult and lengthy process with the most uncommon shapes reserved for pasta making masters.
Shapes and variety aside many...