What is your favourite pasta? The swirly kind, the tube kind, the shell-shaped kind? Well, what if you can have an impressive bowl of pasta that goes from flat to 3D-shaped once it's cooked?
Researchers have been working on a whole new level of pasta that will make your cooking even more fun. Concerned about the environment, these guys have invented a new way to make flat pasta that turns into familiar 3D shapes when cooked.
The flat pasta pieces are first sliced into different shapes and then horizontally scored. But, after they are cooked in boiling water, they turn into something new as the scores expand and coax the noodle upward to form a magical shape.
The flat dough is made of semolina flour which is also known to be a core ingredient of Italian cuisine. The dough also consists of grooves, whose depth and spacing determine how the pasta forms when boiled.
The researchers fed their data into computer models, which could eventually automate the technique. This makes it easier for food manufacturers to produce and deliver a loaded menu of morphing pasta.
The idea behind this discovery came after researchers tried to find new ways to save on packaging. Currently, flat-packed pasta is less expensive than traditional shapes and uses less packaging. Not to mention that the plastic material used for food packaging is a significant contributor to landfills in the United States.
Trying to find and discover new effective food packaging strategies is crucial to maintain a sustainable future.
In a statement, the researchers said, "Three-dimensional (3D) pasta is widely known for its unique texture, mouthfeel, and pairing with different sauces. It takes up more space than flat pasta when packaged and becomes more fragile during transportation. Flat-packed 3D pasta may, therefore, be a possibility if a suitable morphing mechanism can be developed that enables flat pasta to morph into the target 3D shapes during cooking."