Wheat is the main ingredient in pasta, and a special type of wheat—durum wheat—is used almost exclusively. The name ‘pasta’ implies a ‘paste’ with water and flour.
The main styles of pasta are: cannelloni, lasagne, macaroni, rigatoni, spaghetti, tagliatelle and vermicelli. Within these styles are numerous variations in size, shape, thickness, added ingredients, plus plain and wholemeal versions. Some pasta has egg added to the mix, ‘ al uovo ’, but generally it is made from plain durum wheat.
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Pasta and pizza are among the most common meals in the family home, not just in Italy but throughout the world. They are easy to make and numerous different ingredients can be added to make each ‘pasta/pizza night’ different. Pasta/pizza, on its own, has about the same protein (12.8g or 26% d.v.), same carbohydrate content (74g) and the same fibre ‘problem’ as white bread (2.4g). As it has a very low fat content (1.6g or 2% d.v.), a serve of grated cheese will balance the meal plus add stacks of calcium, especially if its Parmesan (1380mg). But cheese supplies no fibre so, once again, the addition of fibre-rich foods is really beneficial. One serve of Cheddar cheese (28g) will add 9.4g of fat—mainly saturated (6g) and mono-unsaturated (2.6g)—and as the approx.daily requirement is 60-80g, the cheese on top is good value for the active person.
For children, pasta and cheese is great, but somehow throughout the day you must also provide them with fruit, or oats or wholegrain cereals, or add some baby spinach or a dash of bran into the
tomato paste mixture, or serve it with yummy wholegrain bread and butter. The protein content of pasta (12.8g or 26% d.v.) is good and with the added protein content of cheese (25g) the protein increases to 38g, nearly 60% d.v. for adults and approx.80% d.v. for children. Now that’s big value for a growing family!
The main benefit of pasta and pizza is the excellent carbohydrate content (approx.72g or 25% d.v.). Both pasta and bread are energy-packed foods; however, as the body requires numerous nutrients to help utilise and produce the energy, the plain white pasta, pizza or bread on their own are fairly inadequate, due to a poor supply of essential nutrients. To overcome this problem, add ingredients that are full of nutrients. Pasta with mixed vegetables, Parmesan and a rich tomato sauce is basic but good nutrition.
For a top-quality pasta meal, add some ground pepitas on top of the cheese—‘I’ll have what she’s having!’ The same applies to noodles: add some stir-fried vegetables, blanched almonds or cracked or finely ground pepitas, and you can be sure of gaining great nutrition and additional flavour.
Foods such as pasta, pizza, noodles and bread can comfortably provide one-third of our daily energy values. We can get another third from fruits and vegetables and the balance from fats, oils and proteins. Pasta, bread and noodles provide approx.72g of carbohydrates per 100g. The daily average requirement for children and teenagers is approx.300-350g, for adults 300g. Our calorie requirements per day are children 2000, women 2200, teenagers and men 3000, an average person 2400 calories. Pasta or bread provides approx.340 calories per 100g serve. So always remember that it’s the topping that makes the bread, pasta, pizza or noodles healthful.
NOTE: d.v. refers to the daily value for women 25-50 years, refer to RDI chart for adult male and child values.
C. P. L. CALORIES – total: 361kcal. per 100 grams
83 13 4 Calories from: Carb: 299 Protein: 48 Fat: 14