Which is a better option for an Italian dinner? We are here to boil down the differences!
We'd like to think that we know a thing or two about pasta. Since 1923 we have been cultivating a passion for handmade pasta in Southern Louisiana. We use only premium natural ingredients to create a healthier pasta with our air-drying process takes over 72 hours!
Why do we go through the extra work? When you try our pasta, we want it to taste like it was just made at your house, freshness with every bite.
- The Difference Between Dried Pasta and Fresh Pasta
- Fresh Pasta
- Dry Pasta
- High Temperature Drying Pasta
- Air drying Pasta - The Dagostino Way
The Difference Between Dried Pasta and Fresh Pasta
When should you choose the boxed pasta over fresh and vice versa? Fresh pasta and dried pasta are actually two completely different types of pasta.
Not all pasta begins life as fresh pasta. You don’t take fresh pasta and hang it in a food dehydrator to make dried pasta. Just as dried pasta isn’t fresh pasta that’s “gone bad” or left out to stale like bread.
The two types of pasta are actually composed of unique ingredients, which end up resulting in two products that are basically two entirely different foods. Dried pasta is made with a different kind of dough and without eggs.
The two separate preparations produce different textures, tastes, and colors. What’s more, many of the pasta shapes you know and love are only possible with dried pasta.
Instead of being served al dente, this pasta should be prepared until it is tender and almost velvety to the touch. This makes fresh pasta ideal for delicate sauces that use melted butter or whole milk as a base, like Alfredo or carbonara, which are magnificent with fresh pastas like fettuccine.
- Made from egg, semolina flour, water, and salt - more water is used in fresh pasta
- Half the time to cook and more tender than dried pasta
- Delicate smooth texture makes it perfect for cream and dairy-based sauces
- Common in Northern Italy
- More expensive and must be refrigerated
Many of us grew up with pantries overflowed with boxes of dried pasta. In all different shapes, sizes, and textures, that seemed to pair perfectly with an all-day Sunday sauce or a quick weekday marinara.
Have you heard of the term al dente? This is the toothsome bite that all pasta chefs worth their salt strive for in the kitchen. This firm structure, the main calling card for dried pasta, provides the strength needed for dried pasta to stand up to heavier sauces with more ingredients. Some of the very best long dried pastas, including spaghetti, linguine, and bucatini, all take extremely well to tomato sauces and ingredients like meat, garlic and oil, capers, olives, anchovies, beans, peas, and chopped vegetables; making it a big difference between dry pasta versus fresh pasta.
- Made from semolina flour, water, and salt (no eggs)
- Can be stored at room temperature almost indefinitely
- Air-dried, bronze-cut pastas originated in Southern Italy
- The firmness of dried pasta allows it to hold up the heartiest sauces
- The rough texture helps flavorful sauces to “cling” to dried pasta
- Most shapes of dried pasta double in shape when cooked
High Temperature Drying Pasta
Many pasta production plants dry their pastas for 2-10 hours at temperatures up to 248°F. An advantage of high temperature is it is cheaper to make due to the shorter drying time as well as having a good performance during cooking, remaining of the right consistency even if boiling is prolonged for a few extra minutes.
It has a lower quality score due to the heat creating a gluten protein denaturation. Moreover, low quality semolina is often found in high temperature dried pasta. In fact, high temperature dried pasta often has a darker or yellower color compared to low temperature dried one. The yellow color could also be partly due to wheat selection in the last years, more oriented to carotenoid-rich grains.
Air drying Pasta - The Dagostino Way
Air-drying or low temperature drying is a more traditional way of drying pasta, which involves prolonged drying times at relatively low temperatures.
For this reason, drying of high volumes of pasta requires a big allowance of space and time, and as a result the final pasta cost is quite higher. In addition, by using wooden cellars to air-dry the wood actually pulls additional moisture from the pasta to result in an evenly dried product. This creates less of a difference between dry pasta versus fresh past and reduces boiling time.
It is the drying procedure still used in many traditional and well renowned Italian pasta production companies, using a high range of ingredients starting from pure semolina flour and including the kind of natural water used to create the dough.