Pasta

Food’s texture is just as important as its flavor. Bottom line: If food tastes great, but the texture is off, odds are you won’t be happy with your meal. Bubble tea, fried tortilla chips and salsa, pannacotta, Greek salads, and egg omelets are all dependent on their texture to make them perfect.

Have you ever wondered why takeout and leftovers aren’t as tasty as food served fresh out of the kitchen? It’s all in the texture. Without texture, you might as well eat your food blended. Not too appetizing, is it?

Texture is the reason why expensive spaghetti tastes so much better than cheap spaghetti. It’s no wonder why some boxes of pasta go for a dollar and others sell for $8, even though they basically have the same ingredients.

In fact, texture is so important in almost anything that is edible and flavorful that part of the success behind Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is their mass production of “chunks”. This came to be because co-founder Ben Cohen has almost no sense of smell and added texture and large amounts of strong flavors so he could enjoy ice cream.

So what’s the difference in the pasta? Dried pasta, or “pastasciutta”, is often extruded from dies. The low-cost brands use Teflon in their dies, which allow them to quickly push more dough through and produce more pasta in less time.

Next time you’re looking to make a pot of spaghetti, consider taking a deeper look at the low-priced pasta. For instance, you will notice that it is shiny and incredibly smooth; this is due to the Teflon die. To save time and produce large quantities, pasta manufacturers resort to quickly drying the pasta, often times for only a few hours, before boxing it and shipping it.

The result? A textural disaster. Smooth pasta never fully mixes with the sauce and therefore isn’t packed with flavor. Not to mention, smooth pasta requires a quicker cook time, which in turn prevents your pasta from attaining the perfectly cooked, al dente texture it needs. Even if you’re lucky enough to reach the “al dente”, the pasta will unavoidably wilt in the sauce.

If you’ve struggled with cooking al dente pasta in the past, try giving the premium brands a chance. These pastas are extruded through brass and bronze dies, which create the coarse texture on the pasta. If you examine these artisan pastas more closely, you will find they are matte and powdery looking. What may seem to be small imperfections on the pasta are actually what makes them absorb the sauce better. Oftentimes, traditional bronze-extruded pasta will also be dried for a longer time, resulting in a longer boil time, and also a robust main course that will keep its shape and texture much longer than the cheap stuff.  Unfortunately, the downside is a slower assembly line.

Related: A Low-Carb Keto Diet Could Shorten Your Life

So, the next time you decide to eat something tasty, ask yourself how essential texture’s role is in your next meal.

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