Fresh pasta can be so hard to find these days that most people won’t even know what it’s like. With no point of reference, it’s hard to know what you’re missing.
When we say fresh pasta, we don’t mean pasta that just came out of the boiling water. We’re talking about pasta that is prepared from start to finish at the restaurant where it will be eaten just before it is served.
But why is fresh pasta so hard to find?
- Many Italian restaurants, even good ones, want to cut costs and preparation times.
- Because it’s harder to find, consumers rarely expect fresh pasta from restaurants.
If you fall into the second category, we want to expose you to the awesomeness of fresh pasta so that you can expect it, find it, and enjoy it.
What’s the difference between fresh pasta and premade or dried pasta?
From the standpoint of the chef or the diner, there isn’t an absolutely right or wrong way to do pasta. There are, however, unique benefits to fresh pasta that premade and dried pasta cannot provide.
Let us start by explaining what defines each type of pasta.
- Dried pasta is the type of pasta that can easily be prepared at home. It comes boxed up and must be boiled for several minutes before becoming soft enough to enjoy. Dried pasta is extremely common because of its price, ease of cooking, and availability.
- Premade pasta is any pasta that is not dried but is still stored for a short or long period between creation and final cooking. It is much less common than dried pasta, but still more readily available than truly fresh pasta. Premade pasta offers some added texture over dried pasta, but it is not nearly as fresh or supple as fresh pasta.
- Fresh pasta is prepared on site shortly before and during mealtimes. It takes the most time and investment, but offers a unique and phenomenal taste and texture that stands alone against any other type of pasta.
There are also personal reasons that a chef might choose to make fresh pasta. For starters, making fresh pasta is a different approach to the creative cooking process. Because a restaurant must make fresh pasta daily, the process kicks off meal preparation as a ritual for the chef. It forces a hands-on approach that leads to a restaurant culture of freshness.
How is fresh pasta made?
There are a million variables when making pasta, but the process we know of for fresh pasta is pretty close to the gold standard, with a few personal touches.
Fresh pasta production starts with mixing the dough a little while before the dinner service begins. For restaurants offering different kinds of pasta, there may be more than one dough to prepare. A chef will mix together the flour, water, eggs, and salt for each kind of dough.
Right before use, a chef kneads the dough. Then, someone will “sheet” the dough through a machine aptly called a “sheeter.” Some restaurants may use a different machine called an “extruder” instead because it is faster, but there is a quality compromise in those instances.
Finally, the chef will then turn the dough into noodles and raviolis with knives and cutting rollers and add any filling if necessary. He or she will drop the finished product into the boiling water. Within only a couple minutes, the pasta is ready to be removed from the water and served with the sauces and other ingredients prepared for the dish.
Make fresh pasta a part of your life
As you can see, fresh pasta can be made with common ingredients and it provides a special texture and taste option for diners. The delicacy is only rare because few restaurants are committing themselves to making this variation, and we can change that by demanding it.
If you’ve had fresh pasta before, we hope you now have an even better appreciation of what makes it all possible. If you haven’t eaten fresh pasta before, we’re hoping that you will try it at least once, armed with a knowledge of what you’re missing.
Ask if fresh pasta is available at your favorite restaurants, seek out new restaurants that already serve fresh pasta, and maybe even consider making some fresh pasta at home. In fact, some restaurants even sell fresh pasta to go. You can pick up the pasta, take it home, and turn it into whatever dish you like.
Whatever you do, make this option a part of your life, and you’ll be glad for the experience.
If you want to pick up some fresh pasta to enjoy at home, call us at 404.709.2148 ahead of time to place your order!