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Food Photo: Pasta Vegetable Soup

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Pasta

Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of an unleavened dough. In Italy, the dough is made mostly from durum wheat or, more rarely, buckwheat flour, with water and, sometimes, eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the different types of sauce. Pasta also includes varieties, such as ravioli and tortellini, that are filled with other ingredients, such as ground meat or cheese. Pasta is eaten in Italy only as first course or nowadays as "piatto unico".

There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognized names. Examples include spaghetti (thin strings), maccheroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Gnocchi and spatzle are sometimes considered pasta; they are both traditional in parts of Italy.

Pasta is categorized in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a few days under refrigeration. Pasta is generally cooked in boiling water.

Pasta is enriched with iron, folate and several other B-vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It is even nutritionally enhanced with whole wheat or whole grain or fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber. Very low in sodium and cholesterol-free when no eggs are used in some varieties, pasta is low on the Glycemic Index (GI) - which means that they are digested more slowly. Pasta provides a slow release of energy without spiking blood sugar levels. According to the American Pasta Association, enriched pastas provide an excellent source of folic acid and a good source of other essential nutrients, including iron and several B-vitamins. Moreover, some varieties of whole grain pasta can provide up to 25% of daily fiber requirements in every one cup portion.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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