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Pasta is a collective term for food made from plant-based ground products (in European cuisine mainly from wheat semolina and steam), which is mixed with water and, depending on the recipe, eggs , vegetables , spices and other ingredients to form a dough and then rolled, pressed and cut or otherwise formed into various forms. They are not subjected to any fermentation or baking process, but rather cooked in boiling water. Pasta is eaten as a side dish , soup or as part of casseroles .

The variety of shapes of pasta is very large. They can be elongated (like spaghetti , macaroni or stretched noodles), but also shorter (croissants, mussels, spaetzle , spiral noodles), wrapped in nests or balls (nidi) or plate-shaped ( lasagna ), or they are punched out as small shapes (letters , Spots , asterisks, numbers, etc.). As a rule, pasta is dried to a water content of 12-13% after molding and sold as a long-life, ready-to-cook product, but it can also be freshly prepared. Filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini , but also preparations with sauces or meat, are also offered as canned foods .


The definitions of pasta differ depending on tradition, origin and era:

  • In the international commodity science of the Harmonized System of the UN , this is used to designate heading 1902. This includes products made from semolina or flour from wheat , maize , rice , potatoes , etc., which are produced without fermentation.
  • In the German standard language thus be foods of various forms of flour or semolina and optionally eggs as a supplement or as an insert designated
  • Pasta in the sense of the German Foodstuffs Book is any shaped product made from ground cereal products with or without the use of chicken eggs and / or other ingredients by doughing, shaping and drying without using a fermentation or baking process. They are sometimes treated with hot water or steam before drying.
  • Pasta in the sense of the Austrian Food Code is generally dried products made from ground products of certain cereals without the leavening, fermentation or baking process, which are put on the market in various forms ready to cook or prepared.
  • Pasta is a food made from wheat flour or semolina, such as noodles , spaetzle , etc.
  • In the GDR , industrially manufactured pasta was referred to as ready-to-cook and swellable products made from wheat fumes , possibly made with egg or soy .


The semolina or flours used are first mixed with water and kneaded into a dough, which also contains other ingredients (e.g. very finely chopped vegetables , fruit or vegetable juices , puree from vegetables, eggs, milk , glue , diastase , vitamins , colorings) , Flavorings ) can be added. The dough is then (e.g. by extruding and cutting, by rolling out and cutting, by pressing, by molding or agglomeration in rotating drums) into specific and predetermined shapes (in particular tubes, ribbons, threads, shells, pearls, granules, Stars, croissants, letters). Sometimes a small amount of oil is added. These specific shapes are often decisive for the designation of the finished product (e.g. macaroni , tagliatelle , spaghetti , ribbon noodles ). The goods are generally dried before being sold in order to facilitate their transport and storage and to extend their shelf life. In this condition they are fragile.

Product groups

The pasta also includes undried (i.e. moist or fresh) and frozen goods, e.g. B. fresh gnocchi and frozen ravioli . Pasta can be boiled, filled with meat, fish, cheese or other substances in any quantity or prepared differently. Cooking will soften the pasta but keep its original shape. Filled pasta can be completely closed (e.g. ravioli), open at the ends (e.g. cannelloni ) or layered in layers (e.g. lasagna ). This item also includes couscous , a thermally treated semolina.

Preparations of pasta are distinguished from this (with the exception of filled products) whose sausage, meat, meat by-products, blood, fish or crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates exceed 20% by weight. Depending on the main ingredient used, these are understood as a product. Preparations for making soups or broths, as well as soups and broths containing pasta, are also excluded, since they are the main character of soups.

A distinction is made between the following product groups:

  • uncooked and unfilled pasta
    • Pasta with egg
    • Pasta without egg
  • Filled pasta
  • Other pasta (e.g. cooked pasta)
  • couscous

Pasta in Germany

Pasta dish in Germany

The general understanding of pasta is defined in the “Guidelines for Pasta” of the German Food Book for the manufacturing industry, trade and use in the hospitality industry. The household and housekeeping area is not included. Pasta is a product of any shape that is made from ground cereal products with or without the use of chicken eggs and / or other ingredients by doughing, molding and drying without the use of fermentation or baking processes. They are sometimes treated with hot water or steam before drying. This also includes instant pasta, with the exception of fried products. Fresh pasta is a product that is neither dried nor simply dried during production. They are sometimes treated with hot water or steam, also pasteurized and chilled or frozen.

The following ingredients are commonly used:

Pasta in different regions of the world

Central Europe

In Central Europe, various "noodles" (including those that are not pasta ) are at home in the southern German-speaking area, i.e. in the Swabian and Bavarian regions, as well as in the Bohemian neighborhood, thus in Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria , Saxony , Austria , the Czech Republic and in of Switzerland . The dumplings are the Maultasche , the Schlutzkrapfen and the Carinthian noodle (from west to east) , in the southeast there are Nockerln (Nocken).

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe pasta is mainly due dumplings represent are distributed pierogi . Pelmeni , Tschebureki and Wareniki are especially Russian , and the Central Asian manti are also eaten in Russia. Uszka are of Polish origin , on Jewish holidays there is Kreplach .


In Italian cuisine , pasta or gnocchi (Italian shape of the cams ) - gnocchi di patate , gnocchi alla romana - are served as the "first main course" . The dumplings are ravioli , smaller filled pasta are tortellini , cappelletti and conchiglioni . “Noodle soup” means pastina in brodo , tortellini are eaten in this form as tortellini in brodo (typical Sunday dish in Emilia-Romagna ).

Paste (plural of pasta ), it appears already at the Etruscans , lasagna in the Roman Republic (ancient) and a kind of spaghetti in the Middle Ages in Sicily to have given (though otherwise noted), see history .


The oldest known noodles have been archaeologically found in China . In Central Asia , special noodles belong to Laghman (see Kazakh cuisine ). In East Asia (the Far East without Russia), pasta is naturally more made from rice than rice noodles , unlike the Mie noodles made with wheat flour from Southeast Asia and Bami from the (pen) islands, to which the fried noodles from Indonesia in Bami Goreng belong. A number of Japanese noodles are also made from wheat flour. It is questionable whether glass noodles can still be regarded as pasta. Noodles are especially used in noodle soups , which can be used as starters or as full main courses, as in Vietnam and Thailand. A special Filipino noodle dish is pancit , and the Thai cuisine, like the Korean cuisine , has some noodle specialties.

Dumplings play a major role both in landlocked Asian countries and in East Asia. In Central Asia (and even in Europe) widespread dumplings are the mantı , which the buuds of Mongolian cuisine are similar to, which alsooffers Chuuschuur and Bansch . Samosa is found from India to Central Asia, Momo in Tibet and Nepal . From China we know wontons , such as wonton soup . Influential in the Far East are Baozi , even in China Xiaolongbao developed in Japan to nikuman , to the Philippines to Siopao and Jiaozi , the Japanese gyoza and in Korea Mandu 's ( Manduguk is thus prepared soup).

Individual evidence

  1. Waldemar Ternes , Alfred Täufel, Lieselotte Tunger, Martin Zobel (eds.): Food Lexicon . 4th, comprehensively revised edition. Behr, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-89947-165-2 , keyword "Pasta", p. 1847-1848 .
  2. a b Anita Menger: Pasta . In: Ludwig Acker (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Lebensmittelchemie . Volume V / 1. Part: Foods rich in carbohydrates. Springer, Berlin 1967, p. 445 .
  3. R. Ernst-de Groe: pasta . In: Rudolf Heiss (ed.): Food technology . 6th, completely revised edition. Springer, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-540-00476-9 , pp. 200 ff .
  4. Explanation 01.0 on item 1902 of the Combined Nomenclature / Harmonized System
  5. Entry in Duden
  6. Principles for pasta of the DLMB
  7. Codex Chapter B 19 of the Austrian Food Book ( Memento of the original from April 21, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.verbü
  8. Erhard Gorys : The new kitchen dictionary . Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1994–2002, ISBN 3-423-36245-6
  9. Food theory . Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 1987
  10. Explanations 02.0 to 08.0 for item 1902 of the Combined Nomenclature / Harmonized System
  11. Explanations 09.0 and 10.0 on item 1902 of the Combined Nomenclature / Harmonized System
  12. ^ Item 1902 of the Combined Nomenclature with subheadings