Classification of the pasta
The various pasta products are divided into several categories, which may be dry, fresh, special and dietary.
Dried pasta is prepared by the above-mentioned method. The main feature is the cooking resistance: after cooking it for 15 minutes in distilled water and salt, it does not go mushy, fall apart or make the water murky. Italian law requires the exclusive use of durum wheat, while the EU also allows the use of soft wheat. The import of soft wheat pasta or mixed pasta is permitted, but it has to be reported on the label.
Fresh pasta doesn't owe its name to a more recent production date but to the fact that it contains up to 30% of moisture. It can be made from soft wheat and it may include preservatives, antioxidants and emulsifiers.
Special pasta has to be produced with durum wheat but other ingredients may be mixed into the dough or added as a filling, but they also need to be shown on the labeling. Sorbic acid as a preservative may be added to the fillings.
Dry egg pasta also has to be produced with durum wheat, while fresh egg pasta may also contain soft wheat. The egg content must be at least 200 g/kg.
Dietary pasta includes a vast range of products. Among the most common ones are :
- Gluten-free pasta, suitable for those suffering from celiac disease;
- Protein pasta, enriched with gluten and various proteins;
- Whole-wheat past, enriched with vegetable fiber (bran, etc.). It has fewer calories and more fiber but it also has an inferior cooking resistance and can have an unpleasant taste and a "grainy" texture.
Dried pasta made with grains other than durum wheat (e.g.spelled, kamut, rye, etc.) cannot be called "pasta"; these products are in fact classified under "special preparation made from ... " , or simply with the name of the type of pasta (spaghetti, fusilli, etc.).