Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by asifa
Is fresh actually better?
When going to an Italian restaurant, you may not think about the pasta itself but when we are cooking ourselves, we may have a lot more to think about. Whether you are preparing a meal for a special occasion or just to feed the family on a weeknight, you have wondered if you would be better off if you began with dry noodles or with fresh. The answer seems to be that it depends on a few things: which nutrition benefits you prioritize, what sauce you would like to use, and how much space you have to store it.
Fresh pasta is traditionally made with Italian 00 flour, which is specifically intended for pasta, or semolina flour, but most of us don’t have these on hand. So, we resort to buying fresh pasta from the refrigerated foods in the market.
Pasta is mainly considered a carbohydrate, but it also contains fiber and good minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. It’s also got some B vitamins as well. If you opt for the wholemeal pasta, you will be getting nearly twice the amount of fiber as pasta made with white flour.
On the other hand, if you choose to go with a dried pasta, you’ll be getting fewer health benefits because most industrially dried pastas are dried at temperatures of 140 degrees or higher for the sake of shorter drying times. Artisanal dried pastas are dried slower at a lower temperature, so they retain more nutrients. But you will likely be paying a higher price for this option.
If cost is not an issue, and you aren’t as concerned about the health benefits as you are whether your pasta will pair well with your sauce, here’s something else to consider. If you’re using a lighter sauce, like a cream-based or butter sauce, you should go with fresh pasta. It’s less porous than dry pasta, so it won’t absorb the liquid from your sauce as much, so the texture will remain largely the same. But if you are using a heavy sauce, like a marinara or oil-based sauce, dried pasta is likely the way to go. It will absorb your sauce better resulting in a more married taste and texture. You’ll just need to start cooking the pasta a little sooner since it has a longer cook time.
Unless you are going from the market straight home to start cooking right away, you’ll need a way to store your pasta. Dried pastas are easily stored in a cupboard or pantry, and they require less space since they expand so much while cooking—usually doubling in size. But fresh pasta doesn’t expand nearly as much with cooking. If you’re cooking a big meal, you’ll be buying a large amount of pasta. And you can’t stick that in the pantry; it must be refrigerated. You’ve got to be careful handling it as well since it is significantly softer. These things amount to fresh pasta being more cumbersome than dry pasta.
So, as we see, it is less an argument of one form being better than another in general. If you’re making a fettuccine alfredo and you have a big refrigerator you may want to search for some fresh fettuccine. But if you need to make a quick spaghetti for the kids in between homework and bath-time, you can’t go wrong with dry spaghetti and a premade sauce.