Depending on who you ask, fresh food is always better than dried or frozen—it has more nutrients, faster to prepare, and it tastes better. So, it would be safe to assume that fresh pasta would always be preferred over dried, right? After all, you’re using fresh ingredients and it can be made right in your own home. Dried pasta, well, who knows how long it has sat on the shelf or in a pantry.
This isn’t always the case. One isn’t superior to the other, they are just different.
Fresh pasta is a simple dough that consists of flour (typically all-purpose or a high “00” gluten) and eggs. The dough is going to be kneaded like bread and then rolled out either by hand or machine. The pasta can then be cut into long noodles or it can be stuffed to make tortellini or ravioli. Fresh pasta is going to be more tender and it is going to cook a lot quicker than dried.
Fresh pasta is best served with a creamy, dairy based sauce. Delicate sauces and dressings that begins with cream or melted butter is going to be taken to the next level with fresh pasta. This will allow the pasta’s texture to really shine and be the star of the dish.
Dry pasta is going to be made from finely ground semolina flour and water, which is then mixed into a pasta and pushed through a mold and then cut into a huge selection of shapes. The pasta is then dried at a low temperature for a few days until all of the moisture has evaporated. Once the pasta has been dried, it is going to be shelf stable for a long time.
Dry pasta is known for its bite when it is cooked al dente. The firmness is going to help the pasta stand up to heartier sauces where there are meat and vegetables. With a high quality tubed pasta, you can use it to make a baked pasta dish and it won’t turn into mush.
There is one instance where you will want to use fresh pasta with a hearty sauce and that is with ragu Bolognese. This is a staple dish from the northern parts of Italy where they typically use fresh egg pasta.
At a first glance, this looks like the typical pasta dish with a hearty meat sauce that is usually paired with a dried pasta. However, what makes this different is that the Bolognese is simmered in whole milk, which is going to give you that rich and creamy texture. When making Bolognese, always opt for fresh pasta!
When you’re cooking the pasta, you’re going to want to keep in mind that dry pasta will almost double in size whereas fresh pasta will not. So, when making fresh, a pound and a half is plenty to serve four people, whereas you’d only need 1 pound of dried pasta to feed the same amount of people.
Have you tried fresh pasta before? Which do you like better, fresh or dried? Comment below and let us know!