Ellen Says: Pasta is a generic term for foods made from an unleavened dough of wheat or buckwheat flour and water, sometimes with other ingredients such as eggs and vegetable extracts.
Pastas include varieties that are filled with other ingredients like ravioli and tortellini. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce.
Pasta is typical of different cultures and countries, but the most famous varieties and recipes come from Italy. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognised names.
Examples include spaghetti (thin strings), maccheroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagne (sheets). Gnocchi and spätzle are sometimes considered pasta; they are both traditional in parts of Italy.
Pasta is categorised in two basic styles: dried and fresh. Dried pasta made without eggs can be stored for up to two years under ideal conditions, while fresh pasta will keep for a few days under refrigeration.
Pasta is generally cooked by boiling.