Italian pasta

By: Loretta Sebastiani

Cooking Basic ingredients of Italian cuisine Italian pasta

Italian pasta

Nutritive value, how to cook, how to use in Italian cuisine ...

italian pasta, rigatoni
Italian pasta "rigatoni"

Raw dry pasta

Nutritive value in 100 g edible part

Edible part % 100%
Water g 10.8
Protein g 10.9
Total fat g 1.4
Carbohydrates g 79.1
Total dietary fiber g 2.7
Food energy kcal 353
kJ 1476
Sodium mg 4
Potassium mg 192
Iron mg 1.4
Calcium mg 22
Phosphorus mg 189
Thiamin mg 0.10
Riboflavin mg 0.20
Niacin mg 2.50
Vitamin A µg 0
Vitamin C mg 0

Italian pasta is divided into dried and fresh pasta.
In Italy dry pasta can be made only from semolina which is produced by grinding kernels of durum wheat. But outside Italy it can be made with other kinds of flour and so pasta can't be cooked "al dente" or, in other words, slightly firm to the bite. Why is it so important for an Italian to cook pasta "al dente"? because in this way we can pour drained pasta into a pan with the sauce and flavour all the ingredients for few minutes on high heat, stirring. In Italy we call it "pasta ripassata in padella". It tastes fantastic!

How can you recognize if the pasta you've bought is of good quality?

  • - at first the pasta must be golden even after the cooking
  • - the water in which you've cooked the pasta must remain clear
  • - a small amount of starch is released during cooking
  • - there's no need to add oil, oil is required only by a low-quality pasta
  • - in other words you have no need to rinse pasta once cooked!

Finally, buy only good-quality pasta reading its ingredients! It may be more expensive but it is very tasty and you'll be successful with your guests!

Raw dried egg pasta

Nutritive value in 100 g edible part

Edible part % 100%
Water g 12.5
Protein g 13.0
Total fat g 2.4
Carbohydrates g 77.9
Total dietary fiber g 3.2
Food energy kcal 366
kJ 1530
Sodium mg 17
Potassium mg 164
Iron mg 2.1
Calcium mg 22
Phosphorus mg 199
Thiamin mg 0.14
Riboflavin mg 0.19
Niacin mg  
Vitamin A µg 35
Vitamin C mg 0

The rules for cooking pasta

1) Use abundant salt water: one litre per 100 grams of pasta

2) Bring to the boil the right amount of water and only in this moment add 10 grams of salt per litre of water. If by mistake you add too much salt, add a potato to the boiling water: this will absorb the salt. If you have not added enough salt, add more salt to the sauce.

3) Two or three minutes later add the pasta and increase the heat to keep the water boiling

4) Stir immediately with a wooden spoon (or a wooden fork if the pasta is long) until pasta is no more hard and is under the water

5) Stir now and then during cooking time

6) Cooking time depends on the quality of pasta and its shape; follow the instructions on the package. But the most important rule is you and your tasting. We make an example. Time cooking on the package is 12 minutes. Well, taste one piece of pasta 2 minutes before the end. If it is only a bit hard it may be the right time to drain it. But only the experience will teach you to drain pasta in the right moment. Don't worry. The love for Italian food and your guests' comments will help you to get more and more expert!

The right doses

People think pasta is fattening but it isn't true. We have to introduce carbohydrates every day for they produce important energy for us. If you follow these amounts per serving you can eat pasta with no consequence on your weight.

  • - Dry pasta : about 70 g (2 1/2 oz) per serving
  • - Dry egg pasta: about 60-70 g (2 - 2 1/2 oz) per serving
  • - Fresh pasta: 125 g (4 1/2 oz)
  • - Fresh egg pasta: 120 g ( 4 1/4 oz) per serving
  • - Filled fresh pasta: 120-140 (4 1/4 - 5 oz) g per serving according to the filling


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