Grab a Dictionary: Defining those Tricky Pasta Terms
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to make a new pasta recipe and coming across a new term without knowing the meaning. Often times, authentic pasta dish recipes contain Italian terms in the directions or title referring to cooking techniques or ingredients. To give you a leg up in the kitchen, this article will define four popular pasta terms to help with your next recipe creation.
Al dente: Pasta Cooked Firm
Al dente is one of the many pasta terms most people have a difficult time understanding. We’ve all seen the classic pasta recipe that calls for cooking the pasta al dente and wondered, what does that even mean? Al dente in Italian means “to the tooth”, referring to the density and firmness of teeth. To cook pasta al dente means to cook firm. Typically, this means boiling the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than normal. The cook time for this dish depends on the amount of pasta boiling in your pot. You want to be sure to use one to two noodles to test the firmness of the pasta.
Formaggio: Cheesy Goodness
Italian cuisine often includes the term Formaggio, which simply refers to cheese. That quarto Formaggio penne pasta on the menu is a cheesy dish. If true to the title, the dish should include four kinds of cheese. Italian’s take their cheese seriously, producing some of the most flavorful cheeses known to the world. Italian Formaggiocan range from soft to hard cheese. Mascarpone cheese is one of the most popular soft cheeses. Parmesan Reggiano and pecorino are popular hard cheeses mixed into several types of pasta dishes.
Primavera: Springtime Vegetables
Pasta Primavera is a popular dish often found on menus at Italian restaurants. Primavera in Italian means “springtime”. Pasta dishes containing vegetables often highlight carrots, peas, and tomatoes in pasta primavera. This is because of their connection to the growing season, which starts up during the spring season. These vegetables and pasta pair well with a thick cream sauce, such as Alfredo.
Ragu: Hearty Sauce
There are many different types of sauces as well as pasta to top them with. Moreover, many of them fall under the Ragu category. Typically, you make Ragu sauces with ground or minced meat, vegetables, and tomatoes. Bolognese, a meat sauce made with ground beef, tomatoes, onions and often carrots, is a type of Ragu sauce. These types of sauces are hearty and savory, pairing well with thin, long noodles such as spaghetti or linguini.