If you’re in college or freshly out, chances are you still subscribe to the whole dry pasta in the cabinet thing. I mean, when you’re sad/angry/giving up, you’re just as likely to reach for a big bowl of pasta with cheese as you are for chocolate. Don’t deny it.
However, if you haven’t enlightened yourself to the wonders of eating fresh pasta over dry, you’re seriously disturbed. We’ve broken it down for you.
Dry pasta: You know what it is. it comes under names like Barilla, Mueller's, Buitoni, and San Giorgio. It’s made mostly of semolina flour (unless it’s fancy and gluten free), water, and salt and lasts pretttyyy much for forever. It’s pretty firm, taking about 8-10 minutes to cook, and holds up well to thick sauces like Bolognese or Alfredo.
Fresh pasta: You can find this usually in the freezer or fresh food section of the grocery, since it’s made up of eggs, water, flour, and salt. It’s super tender, lighter, and much more delicate than the dry variety. It doesn’t do so great under super heavy sauces, but does provide a great bed for light garlic and olive oil concoctions or simple basil and tomato toppings.
So, one isn’t necessarily BETTER than the other, but fresh is better for lighter and dry is better for heavy, as a basic rule. If you wanna get super domestic and learn to make your own fresh pasta (which can be frozen or refrigerated), here’s how Mario Batali – that cooking dude who wears crocs – says to do it:
- 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 extra large eggs
Create a mound of the flour on a large wooden cutting board, then make a well in the middle of the four and add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner wall of the well. As you combine, push the flour up to retain the well shape. The dough will start to come together when about half of your flour is incorporated.
Now you have to put your ass to work. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using mostly your palms. Add more flour in ½ cup increments if the dough is getting too sticky. Once the dough is all together, remove it from the board and scrap up any leftover bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for another 3 minutes until the dough is elastic and only a little sticky.
Knead some more (why wouldn’t you buy fresh pasta at this point? Ugh anyway), remembering to dust your board with flour when the dough becomes too sticky. Finally, wrap the dough in plastic and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature.
When you’re ready and the feeling has returned to your hands, roll out the dough as thin as a credit card. Cut into strips of desired width with a very sharp knife. Dry the pasta on a floured baking sheet for about 2 hours. Then, boil the pasta in salted water for a few minutes until pliable but still having a bit of bite.
Jesus Christ that was involved. I’ll be trekking to my local Italian to do this for me. Ciao.