We have been eating pasta In India now for over 20 years, I think. And over time, one would have expected it to have become a trend and the consumer to have graduated in their choices and understanding of the subject. Sadly though, I don’t quite see that. I actually know of only two chefs, including my ex-wife, who paid attention to the type of pasta they’d use in a dish. And they did that, because each pasta type has a certain role to play.
Some are needed to get the sauces into them, like in the case of penne, and some are supposed to just be drenched in sauces for them to carry it in bites, like spaghetti. The same sauce paired with different pasta could behave differently as a dish. Of course some pastas differ purely on technical aspects (like it could be made with egg or with non durum wheat) but in general you could break up pasta into broad categories such as ribbons and their flattened versions, tubes and their versions, decorative pasta, stuffed pasta and sheets and pots. Or to make things simpler for you:
Flat RibbonsPersonally, I like the flat ribbons. So a pappardelle or linguini works the best for me. It helps bring out the sauce and still let me be playful like a child trying to wrap the ribbons around a fork. It’s also easier for me to cut them if I need to seem non-child like. You know what I mean; not everyone enjoys the sound of slurp.
I also occasionally like a macaroni, especially if the sauce has a good dose of cheese. See, no one changes a Mac and cheese to a penne and cheese or a spaghetti and cheese. Sure, it’s possible, but a Mac and cheese, remains iconic. So what if it’s not Italian, it makes sense; the pasta is able to deliver more cheese to your mouth by getting stuffed, carrying some in its ridges.
Of course, there is the ever-popular lasagna: The sheet. Perfect for cooking leftovers! Sheet, cheese, leftovers, repeat. It may not seem fancy, but done well, it can be a winner dinner. Actually, when I think of it, any stuffed pasta works for me. I think it’s mostly driven by my love for stuffed parathas. But I am done with all the ravioli getting stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Like seriously, I don’t want palak paneer pasta. It’s a personal bias, I have nothing against the ravioli makers. But maybe switch things up and stuff it with prawns or bacon instead?
And yes, there is the farfalle. Is it a bow, is it a butterfly, is it both? Well yeah, it is. It is the butterfly shaped tie. I’d imagined that I’d be able to get my daughter to love it, what with the butterfly and all, but she was meh. She was more interested in the noodles… like father, likes to slurp. Also, doesn’t like it al dente. Because al dente shouldn’t mean uncooked.
So next time you’re ordering a pasta, think a little about why you really want from it. Do you want it to be carrying more sauce for you, or do you prefer the pasta more naked? Do you want it to be easier to pick with a fork or do you like to play with your food? Is it a hot date and you want to impress them with faux pasta trivia? Do you like things being stuffy? Don’t just go and order a pasta, consider all of the above, make it a task, make it complex, be a nerd about it. And then, we can talk about sauces, and how we made the pink sauce.
Stay tuned for our take on pasta sauces - coming on the website soon.
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