Pasta question ...

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by babysteps, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. babysteps

    babysteps

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    Could someone please guide me the correct way or point to a direction where I can get some answers? And if this type of post is already posted in the past, I will search again.

    With the ability of boiling water your cooking repertoire increases (at least I'd like to think so.) The first thing that comes to my mind is pasta. There are many types of pasta out there ... spaghetti, fettuccine, elbow, penne, rotini the list goes on.

    I was just wondering what type of pasta goes well with the type of sauce or ingredients. I see a lot of short pasta with chunky type sauces or used in casserole. Am I on the right path? lol

    Helplessly lost in the world of culinary,
    babysteps
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Bravo! Your powers of observation are good, and you are definitely on the right path. :D

    Heavier, bigger pastas -- pappardelle, and various chunky cut shapes (including shells, larger penne, etc.) are good vehicles for heavier sauces, including those with other chunky ingredients (vegetables, diced meats, etc.), such as Bolognese. The nooks and crannies of the shapes are especially good for holding the solids.

    Mid-size long pastas -- fettuccine, heavier spaghetti -- work well with mid-weight sauces such as puttanesca, amatriciana, Alfredo, and carbonara (not really a sauce, but a set of ingredients).

    Thinner, lighter long pastas such as linguine and angel hair do better with lighter sauces -- oil and garlic; pesto, fresh tomato. Sauces that may have solids but are mostly light -- think clam sauce which is really oil, clam juice, minced garlic, and parsley, with some clams as well -- also do well with thin long pastas.

    I find that the really small pasta shapes -- orzo/riso, pastina -- are best unsauced or with just a little oil or butter as a side dish, or in soup.

    A couple of authors you should look for in your local library are Marcella Hazan (my favorite authority on all things Italian) and Fred Plotkin (yes, Plotkin knows pasta!).

    And remember: you will never be lost; we will always be your flashlight! :D
     
  3. babysteps

    babysteps

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    Thank you very much for your reply and references. I will definitely check them out!!
     
  4. babysteps

    babysteps

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    With short pastas, are there specific type of recipes that would go well with each and every short pastas? I see that rotinis are oftenly used for pasta salads, penne with more of a creamy sauce and rigatonis are sometimes stuffed. Or is it whatever the chef feels like using today? lol
     
  5. panini

    panini

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    bs
    The shorter pastas are usually extruded thicker to hold up better after cooking. Cooking method and different ingradients of the pasta will give you the most variables. Meaning some dried brands are better for salads, but over cooked they will become pieces in your toss.
    Key!! double + the salt in your water, NEVER add oil to the water. This will coat your pasta and prevent it from asorbing any flavor and sauce.
     
  6. babysteps

    babysteps

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    Thanks again for the wonderful tips!!