The Difference Between Fresh and Dry Pasta

The Daily Meal explains the difference between them and how to sauce your pasta appropriately
Staff Writer
Fresh Pasta Vs Dry Pasta

We get advice at Eataly on when to buy particular pastas


Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

We’re not all Italian chefs, but sometimes we can’t help but debate over fresh and dry pasta. The most important things to consider when choosing between fresh and dry pasta are the sauces you plan on serving it with and the shape of the pasta you want to use. Head chef pastaio (or pasta-maker in layman’s terms) Ronald Palladino of Eataly explains in his interview with The Daily Meal that when choosing between fresh or dry pasta, it is necessary to consider the proper balance of shape and sauce. To achieve the perfect balance, he explains, is to make sure the sauce and pasta do not overpower each other.

A perfect example of this balance is with ravioli. When preparing a ravioli dish, you want to be able to taste the dough, pasta, and sauce equally. Palladino uses his personal favorite dish of a fresh gnocchi with pesto as way of describing how the thick, soft dumpling’s cheese filling is able to stand up to the strong flavors in the pesto. Building off of this, he recommends using thicker noodles when using stronger flavored sauces such as pesto or tomato.

When selecting the pasta from your local grocery store, you should only choose a pasta in which you recognize all the ingredients. A lot of pasta on the shelves now is now filled with preservatives and this will take away from the natural flavors of the pasta.

Some other important to points to consider:

Fresh pasta …
• Is extremely tender and takes less time to cook
• Contains eggs and more water than dry pasta
• Is better to use when stuffing, such as with ravioli and cannelloni
• Is incredible with lighter sauces such as butter and sage sauces, cream-based ones, and light vegetables sauces

Dry Pasta …
• Has a firm texture and takes more time to cook
• Should not consist of more than just flour, water, and salt
• Swells in size when cooking, sometimes doubling
• Has a rough surface and compact body
• Is used with stronger sauces such as tomato, pesto, and olive-oil based ones
 

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