Pasta 101: How it’s made
If the average Italian eats more than 60-pounds of pasta every year, who do you think cooks it? Surely, not their mothers. Then who could be the do-gooder?
Straight from the heart of Italy
Bow down to the pastors of pasta- the pasta factory.
The kind of work that the robotic arms and gears inside these food-shrines conjure is nothing short of magic. (Who do you think puts the curves in the macaroni, the ridges in the penne, and the perfect spiral in the fusilli?)
Together with the ingenuity of the men and women who run the factory, making pasta is quite a labour of love. Right from sourcing the right ingredients to exporting the best pasta money can buy.
So what does this symphony of man and machine look like? We thought you’d never ask.
Secret ingredient: Durum wheat
Pasta is made from a mixture of semolina and flour. The semolina is basically coarse-ground flour, extracted from the durum wheat. Semolina that’s ground from durum wheat is yellow in colour; white pasta comes from lower-grade varieties of wheat. Durum is almost exclusively grown for pasta. It’s easy to digest, is high in protein and lower in starch. See, tasty food can be healthy, too.
A walk through the manufacturing process
Step 1: Mixing and kneading
Trust us. We knead these babies.
Here’s where the pasta dough gets kneaded. These mixing machines have been blending semolina flour and water all their lives.
Step 2: Flavouring and colouring
Beneath their colorful exterior, these pastas are really yellow.
Eggs, vegetable-juices, herbs or spices are mixed to the dough to improve the aesthetics. May not be easy on the eye, but it’s easy on the tummy.
Step 3: Rolling
Thick or thin, we’d roll it just the way you like it.
These machines, called laminators, press the dough into thin sheets, and take out the air-bubbles and excess water out of the dough. The dough is then exposed to a steamer which kills any existing bacteria, by heating it to 220°F (104°C).
Step 4: Cutting
Long, thin, short or plump, who are we to judge?
Depending on the shape, pasta is cut or pushed through dies that conceive every kind: spaghetti, fusilli, macaroni, rotini. These machines are real people-pleasers.
Step 5: Drying
The Sun used to do it. But it kept his son out of school.
So we made these.
The drying arena is where the heat, moisture and drying time are strictly regulated. Different types of pasta require varied times to be dried.
The drying time is critical because if the pasta is dried too quickly it will break, and if it is dried too slowly, the chances for spoilage increase.
Step 6: Packaging
Proud pastas awaiting their moment on the shelf
Finally, the pasta is put into packets, sealed and transported to every pasta-eating nation in the world.
Great, now you know how pasta is made. If you’d like to make some yourself, head on over to the Pasta Recipe Centre ( http://www.panzani.in/index.php/recipe-centre/)
If it’s pasta, it’s got to be Panzani.