I used to love pasta, but since marrying the plain eating Mr Z, it has slipped off the menu. I do slip some into stews. Vegeroni Spirals (twists in 3 different colours), Wholemeal Spirals and Chang’s Egg Noodles are the only pasta I have bought in the last 11 years. I am still using pasta from 11+ years ago - I had a wide range from San Remo and speciality brands stored in clear containers in the pantry (looks quite decorative).
Decades ago I did have several attempts at making some pasta with a rolling pin; turning out mainly ravioli, lasagne sheets and gnocchi, but I have never owned a machine and don’t make my own.
Recently discovered Mr Z will have a small amount of the pre-packaged pasta mixes. I picked up San Remo and Continental family sized for $0.79 each. While I prefer to make my own, he will have this. I usually add more cheese, peas or something. These are the dry mixes eg Continental Four Cheeses, Pasta & Sauce, which you mix with water, milk & marg in the microwave. Sacrilege I know, and probably cheaper (and better) to make from scratch.
My favourite is San Remo Pappardelle, but as my wife prefers San Remo Linguine, we usually have it instead.
We normally have it with our own version of bolognaise sauce, as per the recipe below.
I made it last week at our daughter’s home and the grandkids loved it, but our son’s kids prefer a variety without chili.
BOLOGNAISE SAUCE RECIPE.
500 gm lean beef or veal mince.
500 gm lean pork mince.
3 onions, diced.
3 cloves garlic, crushed.
200 gm portabella mushrooms., sliced and chopped.
4 bottles Leggo’s Stir Through Tomato, Olive & Chili Pasta Sauce.
Fry onions in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil until softened.
Add garlic and cook for a few minutes.
Add mince in batches and cook until browned.
Add mushrooms and cook until softened.
Add pasta sauce and stir through.
When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to a mild simmer and cook for 2 hours or more.
Add a little hot water to one empty sauce bottle, replace cap and shake vigorously. Pour into the next bottle and repeat. Add final mixture to pasta sauce.
If you find that the Leggo’s chili sauce is too spicy for some, substitute with another flavour.
As with many wet meat dishes, the sauce tastes even better the next day.
Until we can find a locally produced pasta that’s as good or better, it’s Barilla for us. There are better Italian pastas, but it’s the only one stocked by stores near us. My partner loves spaghetti over any other shape, so 90% of what we buy is Barilla spaghettoni.
Are pasta and noodles really just variations of the same thing?
Noodles possibly began from a fresh dough made from soft wheat, and pasta optionally a fresh or dried product made from hard wheat.
Of course noodles now are also commonly a dried option.
Buckwheat as soba or udon are both great favourites. And unless there is an Asian grocery handy, we make do with the one brand choice. Udon are great in soups, while soba are versatile easily used in both hot and cold dishes.
When it comes to pasta we are heathens, and like @syncretic can’t tell the difference between brands; so we buy the cheapest [by unit pricing @ijarratt] whether it’s the home brand or another product on sale.
As to the style/shape of pasta, we vary what we buy and use what is at hand regardless of the sauce or topping. We don’t give any credence to a certain shape being more suited to certain types of sauces or toppings.
[Speaking of toppings, one topping that I haven’t encountered others using with their pasta is just plain old sour cream. My mother adds cottage cheese to the sour cream as well.]
Sour cream is a common base ingredient in many creamy and cheese pasta sauces. EG Boscaiola style dishes.
The sauces typically add to the sour cream at least a cheese and garlic and often onion to balance and increase the depth of flavour. Very simple and quick.
Yes, you can add lots of other ingredients such as mushrooms and or cured meats etc. to make more complex dishes, or add frozen peas and diced Devon for an Aussie home kitchen take on Italy. Although I’d advise on leaving the garlic in, contrary to the garlic agnostic previous generation trad Aussie cooks?
Yum, reminds me of my Sister-in-law’s go to for a quick meal when we stayed with her near Rome.
I think the quality of the pasta (part of @vax2000 original topic post) and cooking it just right was also critical to how this turned out? Or was it also down to the local red wine from the farm cellar next door? Cash, BYO carafe for refills.
Pasta can be enjoyed in so many ways . The choice of pasta type is important , however I believe the most important ingredient is the topping . That is the choice of sauce or topping prepared with time and love.
Like all food the one you like the best is the best choice for you . It does pay to try new types , as there is always something to learn and to enjoy .
Surprised to find that some cannot tell the difference between one brand and another. Barilla pasta remains al dente even if you overcook it a little. Many cheaper Australian brands do not. I tend to buy Barilla penne rigate, because the furrows hold the sauce to the pasta. Australian products have improved over the years, but none for me is as good as Barilla. ALDI has one type of tagliatelle which are okay, although some other ALDI products are disappointing.
Sorry, folks, but a bolognese sauce does not include garlic. I have lived in Italy and eaten tagliatelle al ragù in Bologna. That’s as close as you’ll get in Italy to spaghetti bolognese, which appears to be a fabrication of American soldiers who served in Italy, even if Barilla now has a packaged product called Barilla spaghetti alla bolognese. Then again, I often commit sacrilege by adding chilli and garlic, so that the bolognese becomes a hybrid of bolognese and arrabbiata.
I like fettuccine alla carbonara. Carbonara is another sauce that Australians have doctored, with very few restaurants serving a proper carbonara, which should comprise only pasta, guanciale, eggs, pecorino cheese and pepper. No cream, no garlic, no mushrooms, no peas, no onions.
Barilla is my only choice, always regret it if I get some other brand.
A locally produced pasta( Queensland) was Pasta Nanda, used to love angel hair egg noodles. And the Mafalda dressed with ricotta.
Gradually it has disappeared from the shelves, I’ve just remembered it now. Very good quality local durum flour.
In regards to Bolognese sauce: not a great deal of tomatoes, the intense flavour comes from the minced meat, and, yes, onions are the tradional choice.
Also a bit of wine after the meat has browned off.
“Should” - according to who? Who is this authority able to say for certain what is in a given dish? There really isn’t one. If you want to you can speak of how a dish has been made in a given region over a given time but why should people in another region (or another time) adhere to that as a standard?
Pavlova must (or must not) have passion fruit. Phhttt. Make it how you like it.
Now if you want to say “to my palate blank sauce should be made this way with these ingredients” that is just fine. You are expressing your taste. If you say “blank sauce must always be made this way with these ingredients” that has no real basis.
Recipes change constantly over time like language. You cannot hold back that evolution.
In Italian cooking, recipes for the same dish vary from region to region, and often from family to family even in the same neighbourhood, and the heated arguments between housewives on how to prepare a certain dish and what the ingredients ‘should’ be are very interesting indeed! Very often it is the way ’ My mother always did’, or My husband would not eat it any other way!
It is always interesting to consider the origins of a particular dish or sauce and the variations. Except to perhaps a select few who seek to settle arguments over who created the original, it is likely a more academic historical matter?
To be sure some of the best pasta we have eaten in Italy or in Australia had very simple and few ingredients. The outcome, textures and flavours were all in the technique and skill of the cook.
We too miss Nanda brand pasta. Another victim of globalisation of our local markets?
P.s.To be brutal no truely traditional Italian cooking should ever include tomatoes or chillies, since they are a 16th century import from Central America. That is unless you accept Italy as non-existent prior to 1861 when the independent states of the peninsular, Sardinia and the Sicilies united.