Butta la pasta... June 01 2012
Sure, there’s pasta... we all know it and love it. A celebrated comfort food, pasta can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, all delicious. But as I recently discovered, not all pasta are created equal. Allow me to share my newfound knowledge.
When pasta is produced in mass quantities, its texture is smooth, which one might think would be a good thing...but it’s actually not. When the pasta surface is too smooth, sauce doesn’t stick to it, and it has the tendency of turning a bit limp, in my opinion. Not enjoyable. However, when the surface has some grooves, some character, some inconsistencies, if you will, the sauce gets trapped in all those crevices, making each bite a little bit of a party in your mouth.
The quality of the pasta you use will determine how delicious the end product tastes. You want quality? Go for handmade pasta. The texture and flavour is quite unique, and it has a nice, firm bite that is definitely pleasing to the palate. One of the finest handmade pastas is called “la Campofilone”, named after the Italian town in which it is produced (http://www.lacampofilone.it/english/company_la_campofilone.htm). This traditional egg pasta is made with only the highest quality ingredients, including eggs from free-range hens, and the company has been recognized for its efforts to use compassionate farming. Added bonus: it only takes 1 or 2 minutes to cook!
My favourite variety of this pasta is fettuccine al peperoncino ($7.99 at La Bottega), a long, flat pasta that is flavoured with hot peppers. It’s so delicious and flavourful on its own, you barely even need a sauce to go with it! My recipe below provides a lovely, light companion for this beautiful pasta, and it makes for a nice alternative to more traditional tomato-based sauces. It would also taste delicious with some grilled veggies added to it. Enjoy!!
Fettuccine al Peperoncino with Olive Oil and Garlic (Serves 4)Ingredients
-250 gr (1 pack) of handmade peperoncino fettucine (recommended: la Campofilone)
-1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
-3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
-Pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired (the pasta is pretty spicy on its own but I love the heat so I like to add a bit more)
-Handful fresh herbs (I like parsley, chives, or basil, or a combination)
-Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
-Bring a large pot of water (3lt) to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta 1 or 2 minutes, until al dente (firm to the bite). Drain.
-Meanwhile, in a pan, heat olive oil over medium/medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, being careful not to burn it. Add chili flakes, if using. Remove from heat.
-Combine pasta with garlic/chili oil, herbs, and cheese.
Lindsay (@Modern_Hostess) is a self-taught chef who has a passion for hosting. In her culinary experiments and musings, she shows that beautiful, flavourful homemade dishes are within everyone’s reach... as long as quality ingredients are used to prepare it. Join her as she peruses the fabulous inventory of La Bottega, and provides tasty ideas for enjoying their finest products.
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