Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not a Pretty Picture

Not good looking, but tasty.
It's whole-wheat penne rigate with chopped-up kalamata olives, a can of very decent European tuna, some chopped walnuts and a little chopped parsley.
The flavors were good, but oy — the textures were like eating a winter coat: all wooly.
I find some whole-wheat pastas grainy in texture, while some are smooth. Some time ago my local newspaper ran a story comparing the various brands of whole-wheat pasta, and the conclusion was that different pasta shapes are more or less palatable depending on which brand you buy. In other words, a Barilla something-or-other might be good, but a Barilla something-or-other-else might not be. I wish I'd saved the article.
This dish was made with De Cecco pasta. We bought it on an impulse, because we'd been hankering for a tuna-walnut pasta meal.
Dang. I should have waited until I had loaded all my shiny new Elfa shelves, since I just discovered we've already got an unopened bag of whole-wheat penne, different brand. I didn't know that before, because my previous kitchen was a lot harder to deal with than I realized at the time.
How hard? When I was loading pasta into the shelves this time, I discovered I have three packages of whole-wheat spaghetti. Three. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I hope to get a handle on it.

21 comments:

Beccy said...

I foresee lots of spaghetti based meals then!

Dr. Biggles said...

Hmmm, you missed adding bacon !!! Adding bacon makes everything pretty.

Biggles

Sean said...

Just watched the America's Test Kitchen where they pitted whole-wheat spaghettis (hm, double plural ... awkward) against each other. Ronzoni came out on top; De Cecco (otherwise my fave) was a runner up, but they did note it had more of an assertive wheat flavor.

I admit I haven't touched whole-wheat pasta in a couple decades. Burned out on the hippie shit ages ago, during my subversive days.

Abby said...

I'm doing one of those health-eating, low-fat, high-fiber deals ... and all I eat is whole wheat pasta. Luckily, I like it, but I'll tell you what: Those companies try to slip in flour on you in the Whole Wheat "blends". There oughta be a law, I tell ya. Labels are TRICKY.

Dagny said...

Still better looking than my bad food pictures. And I just knew before reading that there had to be tuna in it. Looks delish.

Stacie said...

yes, woollens... i agree about the ww pasta. sometimes, it's just to textural. i get some ww egg noodles at the amish market. they are bulk, so i don't know what brand... but they are the slim (not wide) egg ribbons and they are slippery when wet!

kudzu said...

I'm trying to come up with a reason to eat ww pasta. It just doesn't work for me, for the reasons you listed. Maybe buckwheat once in a blue moon, but not ww. Abd after soending a good part of the weekend watching The Sopranos in marathon, I am jonesing for ree-got, manni-got and a tray of baked ziti, not to mention cappa-gool before and scarole with. Damn. No problem with taste and texture there, per Bacco!

Pam said...

I recognize a fellow spaghetti hoarder! I must toss a package into the cart every time I go to the store (not often - usually my beloved does the daily shopping) thinking, "This will come in handy when I don't have time to cook" and then end up with more angel hair than any ten humans could consume! Good luck getting your inventory under control. I can recommend a pasta party for a lot of friends...

Ilva said...

ww pasta sucks. Eat ww bread or salads on grains, eat fruit and vegetables or take a fibre tablet instead but the ww pasta, noooooo!

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear cookiecrumb. I always found, of the brands available in Oz, that the spaghetti had a much nicer texture than the penne and twists... Sounds like a yummy meal, despite the wool.

dancingmorganmouse said...

I'm with Ilva, don't bother with wholemeal pasta, get your fibre some other way. Sometimes, when I feel we've been neglecting our "pipes" I've been known to sprinkle a little bran over the top of pasta dishes, better than that wholemean pasta anyhoo. Either that or I resolve to bake a weed pie, that'll set you right.

El said...

I think Kudzu hit on something: some escarole (or at least raddich') would have jazzed up that dish, at least enough to distract you. But with the whole wheat pasta? It's all in the grind. Same with ww flour. Sometimes, the more powdery, the better, especially in something like a smooth-textured linguine. But dang who can remember when faced with all that new pasta crowding the shelves. Or stashed in the Elfa.

ChrisB said...

embee is less keen on whole-wheat pasta but I keep telling him he should eat them. I manage to slip in the odd meal and he would love the olives (but not me)- we are a difficult pair!!!

cookiecrumb said...

Beccy: I'm finding it hard to eat much pasta these days, since it's not local! Yikes, what a bore I've become.

Dr. B: Bacon would be wa-a-ay good in there.

Sean: You consistently amuse me with your linguistic purity. Anyway, thanks for the tip on Ronzoni. I'm not sure I've ever bought that brand. WW pastas in general are said to have improved greatly beyond the hippie days.

Abby: I wouldn't doubt it. The whole wheat linguini we had a while ago was very smooth -- and pale.

Dagny: How did you know?

Stacie: Whole wheat egg noodles. I want some!

Kudzu: Let me confess that I'm not really sure why I'm trying to tame this whole wheat pasta beast. It's like "I think I ought to." You crack me up.

Pam: Yeah, and I have Kraft mac'n'cheese in there too! Boxes of it.

Ilva: Ha ha! Harsh words (for a harsh product). Thank you for your perspective. I may just give up on ww pasta.

Little Miss Moi: I think you're right. The small shapes are just too dense.

DMM: Can I still eat what's left in my pantry before I quit? :D

El: True, it needed something green, and the chopped parsley? Just more roughage. Little shards of plastic, like the fake grass that comes with sushi.

ChrisB: What, no olives for you? OK, that makes three people I know of who won't eat olives.

Susan said...

Maybe it's having been brought up in an Italian family, I don't know. But I just can't get excited over whole wheat pasta. I've tried it, but my heart (and stomach) bring me back to regular pasta every time. I'm not guilty though, since I eat whole wheat couscous and tortillas.

Monkey Wrangler said...

CC, I find that the Bionature (wholepaycheck, if you ever go there these days) brand does a nice ww product, but when keeping it local I go with fresh eggs, local olive oil and Full Belly wheat. Can't go wrong there. You don't even have to run it through a pasta machine. Just knead it, rest it, roll it thin and cut into strips. Store in the freezer powdered generously with more flour and you have killer noodles in an instant. Frozen, more like 3 instants. Takes a little prep-time sure.........but you got plenty of that right?

cookiecrumb said...

Susan: Yeah, there must be other ways I can get my whole grains. (Heidi Swanson's new cookbook comes to mind.)

Monkey Wrangler: Thanks for the encouragement on that. I've been meaning to try it (and yeah, I got time).

Pam said...

I'm happy to hear about the Kraft Mac n' Cheese. Shows you're human. :-)

KathyF said...

That sounds like me. I am longing to have a huge pantry with well-lit shelves, all along one wall of my kitchen.

And some sort of electronic inventory device that tells me exactly what's hanging around in my kitchen and fridge.

As for ww pasta, I've all but given up on it too. But then I get plenty of fibre elsewhere.

Ed Bruske said...

sounds like a meal to me...

cookiecrumb said...

Pam: Ha ha! (wink, wink)

KathyF: Whoa, you're already spelling it "fibre"? You are so cute. Anyway, I'm wavering on this issue.

Ed: On the other hand. Thanks for the endorsement!!