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December 8, 2011

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Delicious pastas to impress dinner guests

IT is often said that the choosing of the pasta takes more effort than eating it. There is a good selection of pastas available at supermarkets in Shanghai. In Italy, popular brands include Buitoni, De Cecco, Barilla, Agnesi and Voiello. Most are now available in the city.

There are two basic kinds of commercial pasta: pasta all'uovo, an egg pasta such as tagliatelle or fettuccine; and pasta di semola di grano duro, made with semolina, water and salt.

The former is flat and of varying width, while the latter comes in all sorts of shapes, from spaghetti to penne to pipette rigate.

Those who make pasta from scratch often create whatever strips or shapes they like. Sometimes they cut it long and thin like linguini and fettuccine or they cut it into sheets like lasagna.

When making delicious pasta dishes, choosing a pasta shape and sauce that complement each other is important.

Thin pastas like spaghetti should be served with light sauces. Thicker pasta shapes like fettuccine work well with heavier sauces. Pasta shapes with holes or ridges like mostaccioli or radiatori are great for chunkier sauces.

Cooking pasta is easy, but does require care. Figure 0.94 liter of water per 110 grams of pasta and expand this to 6 liters for 500 grams. If you don't use enough water the pasta will be gummy.

Barilla Spaghetti

Origin: Italy

Price: 17.5 yuan/500g

Description: The most popular shape in Italy; the name comes from the Italian word spaghi which means "lengths of cord." Spaghetti originates from the south of Italy and is commonly used with tomato sauces, fresh vegetables or fish. Barilla Spaghetti maintains its shape when cooked.

De Cecco Spaghettini

Origin: Italy

Price: 29.1 yuan/500g

Description: Similar to spaghetti but the "ini" suffix means thinner. Each strand is half as thick as spaghetti, which means it takes less time to cook. Pair with a simple tomato sauce or with sauces that contain larger ingredients such as clams and prawns.

Gallo Pajaritas

Origin: Spain

Price: 15.9 yuan/500g

Description: It is a Spanish brand with a history of more than 100 years. Gallo offers a range of shapes that cater to different needs.

Gallo Tiburon

Origin: Spain

Price: 7.9 yuan/250g

Description: The product is interestingly shaped, which adds fun to the dining experience.

Pasta Dolcetto

Origin: Poland

Price: 10.5 yuan/500g

Description: Its ingredients contain wheat flour, water, natural flavorings and spices.

Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Penne

Origin: Canada

Price: 57.5 yuan/340g

Description: The organic brand provides classic pasta in sound texture and taste. It is wheat and gluten free. Not mushy.

Divella Pennoni Rigati

Origin: Italy

Price: 13.5 yuan/500g

Description: This Italian company has been producing durum wheat pasta for more than 120 years.

(All products can be found at PARKnSHOP at Westgate Mall.)


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