Pasta, a name that is almost synonymous with Italian cuisine, is a farinaceous product made from flour, water and sometimes eggs. The flour used is made from a hard or durum wheat with a high gluten content, which gives the dough its slightly brittle consistency.

Pasta is usually made commercially these days, although some types – most particularly EGG NOODLES, RAVIOLI and GNOCCHI – are still traditionally made at home. In the factories, machines are used to produce the different shapes and sizes of pasta sold to the public as the familiar, , , -, , , , , , , – LINIj VERMICELLI, ZITE. Spinach is sometimes added to the basic pasta dough – thus fettuccine verdi and lasagne verdi.

A varied selection of different shapes and types of pasta.

Pasta is always served with a sauce of some kind – even though it may be as simple as melted butter and grated cheese. In

Italy pasta is served as the course before the main, usually meat, course of the meal, although in other parts of Europe and the United States pasta is more often served as a main course. The lighter, smaller pasta, such as vermicelli, is often used in soups, and heavier pasta, such as macaroni, is made into substantial sweet or savoury puddings.