The Pasta Lover’s Vocabulary

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Al Dente: The term “Al dente” refers to the aspired texture of cooked pasta. Literally, it stands for “on the tooth”. When pasta is cooked “al dente”, they have to be slightly tough in the middle when it is chewed.

Cannelloni: Cannelloni are rectangular sheets of pasta that are enfolded in cylindrical shape and then stuffed. This cylindrical kind of pasta is usually filled with savory stuffing, which might include ricotta, spinach or different kinds of meat. Afterwards the dish is covered with sauce, either the classic red sauce or béchamel.

Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates are one of the three macro-nutritional elements and are contained in bread, potatoes, rice and pasta (starch), as well as in sweets, fruits and in honey (sugar). Carbohydrates are an integral part of every healthy diet. When consumed in regular quantities, carbohydrates do not cause weight gain. In fact, carbohydrates contain fewer calories than natural fat and alcohol.

Durum Wheat: Durum wheat is one of the most widely cultivated kinds of wheat today. It has been developed through the artificial selection of wheat that has been cultivated in Central Europe and the Near East since 7000 BC. Durum wheat is the hardest variety among all kinds of grain and contains protein and gluten in high quantities.

Fibers: Fibers or diet fibers constitute the edible part of herbal foodstuff, which can’t be digested or absorbed by the small intestine and pass intact to the colon. They contain starch-free polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose, semi-cellulose, gums and pectin), oligosaccharides (e.g. insulin), lignin and other related fibril components (e.g. waxes, suberin). The term fiber also includes another kind of starch which is known as resistant starch (it is contained in pulses, in semi-grinded seeds and grains as well as in some breakfast cereals), because it resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon intact.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein which can be found in seeds such as grain, barley and rye. Gluten intolerant persons cannot consume foodstuff that contain it and look for alternative products made of corn and rice.

Healthy Diet: Pasta constitutes an integral component of the Mediterranean diet and is a foodstuff rich in carbohydrates, like bread and cereals. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and low in proteins and fats. Moreover, Pasta contains:

  •  Iron (helps in the production of hemoglobin and is good for our blood)
  • Selenium (it protects the cells – anti-oxidant)
  • Calcium (helps the formation and strengthening of the bones)
  • Vitamin B1 (helps metabolizing carbohydrates and increases learning capacity)
  • Vitamin B2 (helps our organism produce antibodies).

Kids Pasta: Moms, choose for your young pasta lovers, the special series of pasta for children, Melissa Pasta Kids! You will feel safe, since your kids will be occupied, will play and learn simultaneously, even during lunch. Kids Pasta, in different shapes help the sauce to be better mixed with the pasta, it renders the handling of the fork easier and helps kids not stain their clothes! Their size also helps swallowing as it is easier to chew (than regular pasta). At the same time, children receive all nutritious ingredients which are essential for their growing up and for the balanced function of their bodies. Moreover, seasoned with a tasty light sauce, it constitutes a full meal that is low in fats and provides satiety quickly, thus, contributing to fighting child obesity.

Lasagna: Lasagna is a classic Italian pasta dish which consists of alternate layers of pasta, cheese and sauce while often it also includes other ingredients. The word lasagna is used both for the dish and the pasta itself. Despite the fact that lasagna is believed to have come from Italy, a theory goes that the word lasagna comes from the Greek word lassana or lassanon, which stands for flour pot. Another theory maintains that the word lasagna might have come from the word laganon, a thin sheet of dough, cut in stripes.

Linguini: Linguini is a kind of pasta – broader than spaghetti. The word linguini stands for “small tongues” in Italian. The linguini dish is usually garnished with basil sauce (pesto).

Macaroni: Macaroni is a long, thin and cylindrical kind of pasta. It is produced by durum wheat semolina and water. The classic macaroni, or spaghetti, is usually made of durum wheat but, in different countries, it is also produced by other kinds of flour. Traditionally, macaroni used to be 50cm long, however, shorter macaroni started being popular during the second half of the 20th century and nowadays macaroni are usually available in sizes between 25 and 30cm. A wide variety of dishes with pasta, are based on macaroni, from spaghetti dishes with cheese to traditional ‘dishes with red sauces, minced meat and other toppings.

Macaroni dish: The symbol of Greek cuisine, the classic pasta, is interwoven with red sauce, which may contain different spices (mostly oregano and basil), olive oil, meat and vegetables. Other popular “macaroni dishes” are the beloved Bolognese, also known as “pasta with minced meat” and the Carbonara. Usually these are paired with hard varieties of grated cheese, as Parmesan, Pecorino, Myzithra and Gruyere.

Organic Pasta: The choice of Organic Farming Pasta is made out of organic varieties of durum wheat, cultivated with methods and procedures that respect the environment and the earth’s fruits. Its processing follows sophisticated methods of the latest technology, preserving and enclosing the purity in every organic packet. All organic pasta is certified by the BIO HELLAS Inspection and Certification Body for Organic Products with certification code B-266668.

Pasta lover: Every person who cannot live without his/her beloved pasta, which he/she always includes in his/her diet in creative and beneficial ways! Pasta lovers are impenitent and faithful fans of pasta and always invoke their favorite line: “I’m a pasta lover. What can we do about it?”

Pasta: The general term pasta refers to the kind of foodstuff that is made of hard grain (durum wheat) or flour and water and in which sometimes eggs and vegetables are added. There are hundreds of different kinds of pasta, the most popular being spaghetti, barley, lasagne and penne. Moreover, pasta is separated in two categories: dry and fresh. Dry pasta, which is made without eggs, can be preserved for two years in optimal conditions, while fresh pasta can be preserved for a few days in the refrigerator. The most common way of cooking pasta is boiling them. Generally speaking, the word pasta includes also stuffed pasta, such as tortellini and ravioli, which are stuffed with other ingredients (different kinds of cheese, prosciutto, mushrooms etc.). Finally, as regards the etymology of the word pasta, it comes from the Greek word “pastos” (salted).

Pastries: Pastries are cut pasta, which come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colours. They are divided into thin – ideal for soups, barley, being the most popular among them, and thick – ideal for spaghetti dishes with various sauces, oven-baked and pasta-salads.

Production Procedure: Pasta is made of only two ingredients! Semolina and water! These two pure ingredients without adding any preservatives are capable, with the use of the proper recipe, to give us one of the healthiest and most popular foodstuffs.

The right choice of raw materials constitutes the first important criterion for the configuration of a final product of high quality. The harvest of wheat takes place once per year, in June. Later, wheat is stored, either in properly designed storages or in silos with proper ventilation, in order for them to be preserved until the next year. The grounding procedure starts from cleaning the wheat from any existing impurities as well as sieving and washing it with soaking water. After washing the wheat and after it has reached the proper humidity, it is led to special cylindrical machines for grinding. During grinding the wheat’s seed is chopped in order to allow the separation of the seeds interior (endo-sperm) from the exterior shell (bran). Sequentially, the product of grinding is led to special vibrating sieves (semolina mills) where, it is separated by the bran and the pure semolina remains, which is the final product. Durum wheat semolina is transferred to the macaroni producing factory and, there it is inserted in stainless steel vats, called mixers (kneading machines), within which it is mixed automatically with water, thus creating the pastry.

The proper shapers are placed under the mixers, thus giving the pasta, after passing through them, the desirable shape. At that point, the already configured pasta is transferred into the ovens where temperature is almost 100 degrees while the humidity is kept at high levels in order not to break the pasta. Finally, after pasta is taken out of the ovens, their temperature is stabilized and it is led to the packing field. There, they are automatically weighted and, after they are packed, they pass from quality control machines, are given the production code and the Expiration Date, are put in pallets and are headed towards the Finished Goods Warehouse.

Recipes: The most popular recipes with pasta include the serving of pasta with some kind of sauce. The sauce and the kind of pasta are usually combined in accordance with their taste consistency, the ease of swallowing etc. Two of the most popular recipes worldwide are pasta with pesto and pasta Bolognese. Pasta Amatriciana and Pasta Carbonara are also very famous pasta dishes. Other recipes that are preferred by many people are the ones where pasta is combined with seafood or vegetables.

Semolina (Durum wheat semolina): Durum wheat semolina is made of grain and water and apart from being the main component for the production of pasta, it also constitutes a beloved ingredient for the production of sweets. The most popular ones, as it is noted by housewives and pastry chefs and cooks, are halvah, galaktoboureko (custard-filled pastry), ravani (or revani, a semolina cake soaked in syrup), samali (similar to ravani, but contains mastic gum), melomakarona (small Christmas honey cakes), diples (thin, rolled sheets of dough), cakes, karydopita (walnut cake) and bougatsa (pastry made of phyllo and custard).

Tagliatelle: Tagliatelle are the traditional pasta of the Italian county Emilia-Romagna. Tagliatelle are long, thin stripes which resemble fettuccini in their shape. Despite the fact that their classic pairing is Bolognese sauce, tagliatelle are served with a wide range of sauces.

Tortellini: Tortellini is the name of the stuffed pasta. Its filling can include different kinds of cheese, delicatessen, olive oil, vegetables and other.

Traditional Pasta: They are produced in smaller manufacturing units, almost by hand, using nature’s purest ingredients: wheat, water, eggs, milk, and old home recipes. They constitute an excellent choice of high nutritional value for our everyday diet. They are placed at the base of Mediterranean diet’s pyramid, harmoniously combining the nutritional ingredients of wheat and milk and, thus, providing our bodies with essential carbohydrates, proteins, metals and minerals.

Tricolore: Tricolore pasta has three colours (yellow, green and red). In the classic recipe spinach and tomato are added.

Types of Pasta: Pasta is categorized in the following types:

  • Spaghetti
  • Thin Pasta
  • Thick Pasta
  • Special Pasta
  • Stuffed Pasta
  • Kids Pasta
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Organic pasta
  • Gluten free pasta

Wheat (Durum wheat): Durum wheat is one of the most widely cultivated kinds of wheat today. It has been developed through the artificial selection of wheat that has been cultivated in Central Europe and the Near East since 7000 BC. Durum wheat is the hardest variety among all kinds of grain and contains protein and gluten in high quantities.

Wholegrain Pasta: Wholegrain pasta is produced by the whole seed of wheat and is rich in carbohydrates and fibers. They offer our bodies energy and constitute a healthy foodstuff, especially when paired with a light red sauce. It is estimated that a serving of wholegrain pasta provides our bodies with 27% of the overall daily fibers we need.