The secrets of pasta

Pasta, gastronomic excellence of Made in Italy, is the main food of Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean diet.

Italy is the first pasta-producing country in the world with as many as 3,350,000 tons, followed at a safe distance from the United States, Brazil, Russia. Even for eating our country continues to remain first and unchallenged, with a consumption of less than 26 kg of pasta per capita per year.

The paste is a natural and simple food, consists of durum wheat semolina and water without any preservative because the drying of the product allows a lasting shelf life. For the production of pulp it is used only durum wheat, while wheat and flour obtained from it, is destined to bakeries and confectionery production.

The durum wheat semolina and water are mixed and extruded into molds that give the pasta the innumerable and imaginative formats; the bronze wire drawing system is the best as it is reflected on the properties of the dough such as porosity and tensile strength, leading to a more wrinkled and tough texture; qualities sought by the consumer because the roughness calls up a greater amount of seasoning, which provides more flavor.
Supplanted with the introduction of molds in teflon, lately also the industrial brands with higher reputation have started to use bronze dies.

The last drying stage serves to remove the water still present in the dough: the drying stages are carried out in a ventilated area, and can take place at low-medium temperatures for prolonged periods (50-60 ° C), or at high temperatures (80-90 ° C), the latter technique which favors the denaturation of gluten proteins.

The drying at low temperature instead allows the pasta to keep the typical color of the bran, the nutritional integrity and content of essential amino acids; this typical processing of artisan pasta makers, but also for several industrial, it allows the durum wheat pasta also have a low glycemic index.

A good pasta is recognized if it has a clear amber color; the texture to the touch must be wrinkled and mealy; better if you break more easily. The values ​​and the nutrients of the grain of wheat, remain unchanged through the various stages of processing, these remain in the semolina, and such in the dough. The composition of durum wheat pasta is:

  • Water12%
  • Proteis 11,5%
  • Fats 1,2%
  • Carbohydrates 74%

In a balanced diet about 70% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates of which 55% just as complex as those coming from the dough, 20% from fat and 10% from protein.

A dish of 100 grams of spaghetti or other pasta unseasoned provides 350 calories, so you do gain weight is a common place. It can also be eaten without problems every day, one serving of 80g, preferably at lunch; in this way it metabolizes faster and provide all the energy to the brain and muscles.

It is important to pay attention to the condiments that will contain little fat, preferably vegetable; ideal to get the sense of satiety with a low energy density are the dressings made from fresh vegetables and season with the addition of extra virgin olive oil.

The habit to dress pasta adding the Parmesan or Pecorino cheese whether it makes the pasta dish a complete and balanced food: in fact, the proteins of the dough are to be considered out of balance for what concerns the amino acid composition, almost totally lacking an essential amino acid, lysine.
But just a tablespoon of cheese to sufficiently raise the level of lysine and to make a pasta dish a complete food.

In addition to the classic pasta typical of durum wheat of Italian cuisine, there are several other types of pasta: corn dough, rice, soybean, khamut obviously be recommended in the gluten intolerant essendone these totally lacking, and that are more digestible with a reduction of gastric emptying times.

Wholemeal pasta is made with flour made from the beans intact ie not deprived of the germ, the “heart” of the wheat, and not private Bran .This type of pasta is rich in antioxidants, minerals, fatty acids; especially the beneficial characteristics are given by the fibers that abound in giving a greater sense of satiety and promote intestinal peristalsis.

To ensure digestibility to the dough you need to cook it properly: more cooking will be al dente, the pasta is more digestible!

Cooking pasta is a mechanical process based on osmosis, it is necessary that the water penetrates in starch making it increase in size; the high-boiling temperatures allows the food to move continuously and being hit on every point of the water which makes homogeneous cooking, holding in its interior the starch and other important nutrients.

Prof. Angel Keys American scholar known for having demonstrated in the late ’50s the many health properties of the “Mediterranean diet” with his research launched at world a warning:

If you want to live healthier and longer nourish yourselves as you are always fed the peasants of Southern Italy, with pasta topped with Mediterranean fruit: olive oil, tomatoes, vegetables, legumes consumed, bread fruit, fish and meat a few“.

Pasta consumption tarnished by rampant American boom of fast food, hamburger with fries, sandwich stuffed, and more recently the so-called ethnic cuisines, it is now re-evaluated and appreciated everywhere in the world.

Whether spaghetti, penne or rigatoni, does not matter … the dough does not resist! Cavour wrote: “In making Italians pasta is able to do more of Manzoni’s” Art ties, language, altar, blood memory and heart.

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Milan hosts the 1st summit on the Mediterranean Diet

The first World Conference on the Mediterranean Diet will run from 6 to July 8, 2016 at Palazzo Lombardia in Milan to outline the future of the Mediterranean diet: one excellent lifestyle in terms of human health and the environment, but from which populations – including those of the Mediterranean – are gradually deviating.


The “new” Mediterranean Diet Healthy and Sustainable she will star in a campaign of international promotion which will be launched as part of the world Conference Milan during the round table entitled “The MED DIET 4.0: A framework for the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable diet, with four sustainable benefits” organized by IFMeD, CIISCAM, CIHEAM-BARI and Forum on Food Cultures Mediterranee.

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