Dried pasta isn't an ingredient you should limit to spaghetti night. It's actually a very versatile pantry staple that foodies can use in all kinds of appetizers, main courses, and even soups. Take a look at our easy dried pasta recipes as well as all of the other information you should know about this must-have pantry item.
What is the difference between dried and fresh pasta?
Dried pasta is made of flour, salt, and water. It is then hung or laid out to dry so it can be stored in the pantry. Fresh pasta is usually made with eggs and uses more water than dried, which requires it to be cooked right away or refrigerated to keep it from going bad. Because it's never dried, it has a soft texture and takes less time to cook.
Is dried pasta already cooked?
Dried pasta isn't pre-cooked, but because it's made of only flour, salt, and water, it's safe to eat straight out of the package.
Is dried pasta good for you?
Whole grain dried pasta offers a lot of health benefits. It's a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, which keeps you feeling fuller longer than simple carbohydrates from white flour. To maximize the health of your dried pasta recipe, opt for tomato-based sauces rather than those made with dairy.
What is the serving size for dried pasta?
A single serving of dried pasta is about 2 ounces, which is about 1 full cup of pre-cooked pasta. Because some types of dried pasta don't easily fit in a measuring cup, using a kitchen scale to weigh out a serving is a great option for anyone who is trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
What is the shelf life for dried pasta?
Dried pasta usually lasts 1 to 2 years after the sell-by date listed on its package. To keep it fresh for as long as possible, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place, like your pantry or kitchen cabinets.
Types of Dried Pasta and Dried Pasta Shapes
Dried pasta comes in a variety of styles and shapes. For dishes with sauce, look for noodles with textured surface areas so they grab as much liquid as possible. Small varieties of pasta are great for soup, since they fit easily onto your spoon for a perfect bite every time.
Some of the most popular dried pasta shapes and types of noodles are:
Dried Pasta Recipes
Kick your weekly pasta night up a notch with these easy dried pasta recipes. For added ease, use canned meat and canned vegetables in favor of fresh or frozen options.
|Enchilada Pasta Casserole: This Mexican spin on this classic (and super simple!) comfort food will hit the spot any night of the week.||Chili Mac and Cheese: All you need is 20 minutes to throw together this easy chili recipe. As a bonus, most of its ingredients come from the pantry or spice cabinet.|
|Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese: You'll be shocked at how easy it is to prepare this gourmet meal, which tastes like it came from a Tuscan cafe.||Dump-and-Bake Wagon Wheel Pasta Casserole: You won't miss the meat in this vegetarian dish, but carnivores can also add canned chicken for added heartiness.|
|Easy, Cheesy Chicken Alfredo You Can Make in the Crock Pot: You can easily use dried fettuccine noodles in this recipe -- just be sure to cook them before adding them in.||Classic Goulash: Its name sounds fancy, but this easy-to-make dish takes under an hour to whip up, and it can even be made in the slow cooker.|
|Stuffed Shells with Spinach: If you've had your fill of boxed macaroni, give this upscale (but kid-friendly) version a try.||Greek Pasta Salad: This delectable side dish will be a welcome guest at tonight's dinner table or your office's next potluck.|
|White Bean and Pasta Soup: Even though this soup tastes like it's been simmering for hours, it only takes about 30 minutes to prep.||Easy Double Cheese Baked Penne: Even picky eaters will ask for this dish by name, and it makes excellent leftovers.|