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Italian Pasta

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Italian Pasta

PASTA
It is thought that pasta, understood as "maccheroni", comes from Sicily: in fact, they were used to make a kind of thread-shaped flour food in Trabia, a village near Palermo.
Until the XVIII century the several kinds of pasta are usually called "maccheroni". Afterwards the Neapolitans, labelled as "maccheroni-eaters", used the word to refer to long pasta: the "maccheroni", considered as a poor but quick to cook and nourishing food, became very common in people's diet.
Some photos dating back to the beginning of the XIX century show the so-called "maccheronari", i.e. people who were used to cook maccheroni in big pots at the corners of the streets and to serve them with some grated cheese to the wayfarers, who ate pasta with their own hands. Since then the "maccheroni", understood as long, rounded pasta, were called "spaghetti" and they became the symbol not only of the Neapolitans but of the whole Italian people.

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HOW PASTA IS MADE

  • wheat harvest;
  • selection: the corn is selected to be ground down into flour on account of its healthy features;
  • grinding: the corn is carried to the mill; first it is sifted from the chaff, then it is grinded in order to get high-quality "semole". Only durum wheat is used to make pasta whereas soft wheat and the flour got by it are used by bakeries and by the confectionery industry;
  • dough and kneading: durum wheat semola is mixed with water, so the starch and the proteins mix with water producing gluten. The dough gets its characteristic shape and look. Thanks to the next kneading-step the dough becomes well-blended and stretch. Pasta is therefore the result of mixing water with flour obtained by the milling of wheat; it does not contain salt. Italian Law forbids the use of preservatives and colouring agents;
  • "trafilazione": the dough is put into moulds which give it various formats. The process has not finished yet: indeed, as the dough still contains too much water (about 30% of its weight) and therefore it could not be preserved well, it is put into driers;
  • drying: the duration of this process varies according to the kind of pasta that must be made. This is the most delicate step of the whole cycle of production. Pasta is ventilated through warm air many times in order to get the damp out. The Law establishes that at last the dampness must not be over 12,5%;
  • packaging.

 

 

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