Pasta power

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am


The long strands

If you like spaghetti, eat it together with meaty tomato, creamy seafood or sauces made from olive oil. Add some mushrooms and sweet bell peppers and you may never eat anything else again!

Before the main meal, you should try Angel hair. It cooks quickly, often in about two minutes. You can also break it up, and use it for soup. For a mouth-watering experience, use it together with thin, tomato sauces or toss it with olive oil, finely chopped cooked vegetables and shrimp.

A peep into pasta's past

The Arabs were believed to have started making pasta when they invaded Italy in the eighth century. They brought a dried noodle-like product with them and started making large quantities of it in Palermo.

This is thought to be the origin of modern pasta and the Italians and the rest of the world cannot thank them enough!

Food historian Zanini de Vita's excellent book Encyclopaedia of Pasta provides a colourful history of the Italian staple. Everything you ever need to know about pasta is in that book. So, if you're a pasta fan, you'd better get a copy.

Pasta quotes

'Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.' - actress Sophia Loren

'My sisters like cooking at my place. It has a bit more room, and the food tastes a little bit better. A big pot of spaghetti and sauce, some warm French bread - works all the time. I think I've been eating pasta for 26 years.' - US football star Tom Brady

'No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it needs so much attention.' - US writer Christopher Morley

'Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.' - Sophia Loren

Ribbon strips and tubular pastas

Almost any sauce goes with delicious linguine. But you can enjoy it much more with white or red clam sauces.

The 25mm-wide noodle peppardelle goes well with meat, cream and vegetable sauces. In Tuscany, Italy, it is served with tomato-based duck and rabbit sauces.

The short, fat tubes with ridges are called rigatoni. Use any meat sauce or chunky vegetable sauces made from eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. Cream-based sauces will also give you a taste of heaven.

Short hollow tubes, with ribbed surfaces, are called penne rigati. Many different sauces, from meat to cheese, can be used.

Happy Italian eating - and power to your pasta!