Our guide to pasta courses

Our guide to pasta courses

First published date February 05 2014 Amended date April 22 2015

A staple of Italian cuisine, pasta is something we almost take for granted. When you put a couple handfuls of dry pasta in a pan of boiling water to simmer for 12 minutes, it’s easy to forget its rich history dating back as early as the 13th and 14th centuries. The world of pasta is far more interesting than you would initially think with so many varieties available, each more versatile than the last. So if you enjoy cooking pasta and want to learn how to make your own from scratch, then why not enrol on a pasta course today?


 I don’t know anything about pasta...

It doesn’t matter whether you do or don’t know the difference between spaghetti and linguine, or farfalle and rotini, you’re there to learn. Most courses on offer are one-off introductory courses which are designed to be a bit of fun which you can take something away from, nothing overly serious or daunting. As long as you’re enthusiastic and willing to learn, you will get by just fine.


What will a course involve?

Depending on which course you decide to take, you may be shown either how to make fresh pasta varieties from scratch or you may be taught different pasta dishes, or maybe even both.  Led by an experienced chef, you’ll be taken through the ins and outs of fresh pasta making from the basic ingredients needed, like semolina flour, water or eggs depending on the pasta you are making. Then you’ll be shown how to mix in your ingredients to make dough which will need kneading before leaving it to rest before going onto flattening, cutting and shaping your pasta shapes. From there some courses might take you on to cooking sauces as well and getting you to know which sauces work with which varieties of pasta and meats also. Most courses will run for only a day or two max, with a couple of hours each day and you will find most run in the evenings or weekends.


How will it benefit me?

You can never develop your cooking knowledge too much, and to be able to make pasta from scratch and cook proper, authentic Italian pasta dishes as opposed to your rushed tuna and pasta usual, is an impressive talent to possess. What you learn is something you can keep with you and use over and over, so having friends or family over for dinner and telling them you’re cooking pasta may, at first, disappoint them but with the skills and craft you will have learned, they will soon be wowed! (And sorry they ever doubted you.) Courses could also be a fantastic and original gift idea for friends or family, or that special someone. While you may not be the next Aldo Zilli or Antonio Carluccio, taking a course in pasta may open you up to the world of cooking to the point where you want to take on more courses. If you like your pasta course, you might take on an Italian cooking course, or maybe an adventure through different cuisines like Thai cooking or Indian cooking. Opportunities to enhance your cooking skills are endless with the cookery courses on offer


Did you know?

-          Dried pasta is made from water where as fresh pasta is made from eggs to moisten the dough. This is why dry pasta has a much longer shelf life than fresh pasta.

-          According to figures by the International Pasta Organisation (IPO) conducted in 2011, Italy consumed the most amount of pasta in the world per head, with 26.0kgs per capita in a year. That’s more than twice as many as much as Venezuela in second place.

-          A number of pasta varieties translate from Italian into English exactly as the pasta appears. E.g. Spaghetti translates as little strings, and is the plural for ‘spaghetto’, which comes from the word ‘spago’ meaning thin string.

-          Another couple of examples; penne pasta translates as the Italian for pen, owing to its quill like shape and farfalle, the pasta we usually associate with bow ties translates to butterflies.