The term pasta refers to a product generally consisting of hard wheat grain semolina and water, although the use of soft wheat or “alternative” flours are allowed for the production of the so-called unconventional pasta.These include enriched pasta, for diabetics, gluten-free etc.
In fact, as widely documented, products deriving from wheat contain gluten, which represents a problem for the health of people with a coeliac disease, or suffering from a sensitivity or allergy to this protein.
In order to thus satisfy the needs of these consumers, and given the growing demand for gluten-free products from the market, the food industry is constantly looking for raw materials that could substitute wheat.
Currently, in the pasta sector, there are numerous gluten-free flours used, but those obtained from rice are substantially the most common. If, with regards to food technology, rice pasta represents a typical product of the oriental tradition with very ancient origins (in China already known in around 900 a. D.), on the other hand, for the non-coeliac consumer, rice pasta is a novelty in recent years. The traditional preparation of this product consists in adding water to the brown or refined rice flour and then let the dough to ferment.
The dough thus obtained has a very dense consistency and can therefore be drawn into various formats. Eggs may or may not be added to the dough.
On an industrial level, today there are two approaches to gluten-free pasta: focusing on the ingredients; or focusing on the technological process.
Focus on ingredients
The first one, involves a search for the most suitable raw materials and a well-thought out and balanced combination of them. These ingredients, suitably dosed and mixed, must be able to produce a cohesive substitute structure for gluten.
to be continued