Why dried pasta is better than fresh

 pasta with soft shell crabs

Fresh pasta has found its way into most major supermarkets, following the trend toward fresher, less processed ingredients. But just because it is fresh doesn't mean it is better than dried pasta, says Evan Kleiman. She explains why in an article in The LA TImes

Kleiman has been saying this for  years. Back in 1994, she co-authored Pasta Fresca: An Exuberant Collection of Fresh, Vivid, and Simple Pasta Recipes. In that tome, she discussed how neither fresh nor dried pasta was necessarily better than the other version, saying that "each has unique attributes that work in differing roles." Kleiman is frustrated that over 20 years since she wrote her book, people were still assuming that fresh means better. 

People often think that because they are served fresh pasta in a restaurant that it must be a superior product. Wrong, says Kleiman. It is just quicker to cook fresh pasta. She polled a number a chefs, who almost universally said "that they eat dry pasta at home but, due to service issues - brought on by the combination of dry pasta cook times and the impatience of diners - they decided that fresh pasta was the best solution to a challenging problem." So don't feel guilty about skipping over the more expensive fresh pasta in the refrigerated case. The boxed stuff is not only cheaper but it's actually better. 

Photo of Pasta with soft-shell crabs from The Minimalist at The New York Times by Mark Bittman and Evan Kleiman 

10 Comments

  • upscalebohemian  on  6/4/2017 at 1:38 AM

    I clicked the DARCIE to let him/her know that Evan Kleiman is a woman (always has been), but no go on that. You've repeatedly referred to her as "he" throughout. Have a look Darcie. https://www.kcrw.com/people/evan-kleiman

  • chezlouise  on  6/4/2017 at 1:42 AM

    Darcie, 1) Evan Kleiman is a SHE. 2) Ever heard of spellcheck?

  • alohaanna  on  6/4/2017 at 7:40 AM

    Evan is a SHE.

  • jtrewhella  on  6/4/2017 at 8:38 AM

    Just as I've started making fresh pasta after 50-odd years of being a keen cook! I was inspired by the fresh pasta from the fresh pasta shop that we shopped at in Northern Italy during our stay there recently. It has a different texture, if you're using it straight after making it - I've not tried a dried pasta that beats it. Making more this afternoon!

  • Weave2sew  on  6/4/2017 at 9:01 AM

    I have been cooking from Evan's books for ages. She most definitely is a woman. Please correct.

  •  on  6/4/2017 at 10:19 AM

    I have been cooking from Evan's books for ages. She most definitely is a woman. Please correct.

  • darcie_b  on  6/4/2017 at 1:09 PM

    Sorry, gender pronouns and typos corrected. I was battling a migraine when I posted this so wasn't thinking straight. Please accept my apologies.

  • darcie_b  on  6/4/2017 at 1:10 PM

    Now that the corrections have been made, please feel free comment on the substance of the article.

  • darcie_b  on  6/4/2017 at 1:11 PM

    *to comment. Sigh.

  • Jenny  on  6/4/2017 at 1:26 PM

    Nice article Darcie - I have to agree - I love making homemade pasta and do so for ravioli and lasagna when I can but for noodles - dried can't be beat. Yesterday, I tried something new - usually on Saturday we go out for something cheap and fun after mass (church) but I decided to make Marcella's butter sauce, meatballs and pasta. Knowing everyone is starved by the time we get home - we usually don't eat lunch here - I pre-cooked the pasta to 7 minutes (done at 12), removed the pasta strainer - and put the lid on the pot - which kept the water very warm - when I got back - I turned the water to boil - put it back in for 4 minutes and my husband said the pasta was perfect. Time saver for when you have people over - as I hate to cook in front of people - mostly because people annoy the heck out of me. Hope you are feeling better.

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