Pasta 101

Dried Vs. Fresh Pasta

No, dried pasta isn't fresh pasta gone old. Here's how they compare.

By Sara Quessenberry
Pasta Pomodoro with Shrimp and Lemon ZestAnna Williams

Dried

  • Made of little more than semolina flour, water, and salt, dried pasta can be stored at room temperature almost indefinitely. Use up this pantry staple with kid-friendly spaghetti recipes.
  • Many varieties, especially those from Italy, have the flavor and consistency you would find in a great trattoria. Imported pasta can usually be had for only a few cents more than domestic ones.
  • Dried pasta's firm texture means it can hold up to even the heartiest sauce.
  • Most shapes double in size when cooked. One pound of dried pasta serves four people generously.
     

Fresh

  • Because it contains eggs and additional water, fresh pasta is more tender than dried and takes about half the time to cook.
  • Its delicate texture is best with light sauces made with tomatoes, cream, oil, or butter flavored with herbs.
  • One and a half pounds of fresh pasta serves four people generously.
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Quick Tip

Watercress

Supermarkets may carry watercress or a similar spicy green called upland cress (often labeled hydroponic cress); either is deliciously peppery.