The answer will differ from person to person. These days “organic“, “eco” and “whole foods” are buzz words commonly seen in supermarkets, with processed foods having gained a somewhat negative connotation, they are becoming less favoured by many consumers. Therefore, at first glance, fresh pasta seems to have a better ring to it. However, in order to know which type of pasta is best for you, it’s important to know what the differences are between the two.
Firstly, fresh pasta is generally made from eggs, flour and just a pinch of salt. In Italian tradition, after combining the flour and salt, you must make a well in the flour in which you will then crack the eggs. A fork is used to whisk the eggs, gradually adding in the surrounding flour. A dough will then form which must be folded and kneaded well in order to activate the gluten. It must then be left to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can then start rolling the dough repeatedly depending on the desired thickness. This is generally (and more easily) done with a pasta machine although it can be done by hand. Once it’s rolled you can cut it into your desired shape, boil it for 2-3 minutes and voila! All in all, it takes about 60 minutes to prepare a fresh pasta dish. It has a silky texture and tends to be more tender than dry pasta. Due to its tenderness, it’s best served with light sauces. Examples of fresh pasta dishes include fettuccini alfredo and ricotta ravioli.
On the other hand, dry pasta is made from semolina flour and water and then made into various shapes such as penne, fusilli or farfalle. The pasta is dried out over several days allowing the moisture to completely dissipate, leaving you with delicious pasta with a long shelf life. Dried pasta takes just about 10-15 minutes to cook and can be served with a wide range of sauces as it is the more durable of the two pastas. Although dry pasta is considered a processed food it is not necessarily worse than fresh pasta. Depending on where you shop you can find varying qualities of dry pasta, some with less preservatives than others. Dry pasta tends to be higher in calories than fresh, but also higher in fibre.
Dry pasta is obviously the more convenient of the two, so it may make the better option for a busybody. On the other hand, making homemade fresh pasta can be a rewarding task. Knowing you put in the hard work can make your dish that much tastier. Both pastas come with their merits and demerits, the “better” pasta depends on the personal preference of the consumer! If you want to find the best Italian food in London, United Kingdom, check out Grapevine, an Italian restaurant in Shoreditch.