In this edition of Pastastic I'll kick you off with 3 quick recommendations:

pastastic Matt1 - Get yourself a spaghetti spoon (see below).

I just started using one and now I'm kicking myself for not having done it years ago. What a tool!

2 - Try making pasta sauce with vodka (also below). This boozy dish is creamily delicious.

3 - Avoid turning your love for food into a bigger waistline with this great over-eating article.

Recommendations over then, let's get cooking...

Inside this month's issue:

A Superior Spoon

A product recommendation at the start of Pastastic? Have I sold my soul? No, it's just that this product really is that useful.

New Additions

New recipes and product pages including pasta with vodka sauce, basil growing advice and plenty of pans.

Pastafact #10

It's not about the size y'know. No siree, it's about the length...

Pasta Q&A

A quick query from Mumbai about feeding a vegan son.

Site of the Month

Chop your food bills by turning your fingers green.

Learning La Lingua

If you're traveling to Italy, you're bound to want to buy groceries at some point. This quick ingredient guide should help.


Matt -

"A tavola non si invecchia"
(one doesn't age while seated for a meal)
- Italian proverb

A Superior Spoon

pastastic MattIntroducing a small product that makes pasta-loving life much easier.

The Good Grips Spaghetti Server is not only useful for serving up long pasta, but stirring it in the pan too. This helps ensure pasta threads such as spaghetti and fettuccini don't turn into a tangled mess. Highly recommended.

Grab it on Amazon here.

New Additions

pasta with vodka saucePenne pasta with vodka sauce

Whilst I'm not sure you should serve it to kids, I wouldn't worry too much about this dish getting you wasted. What it'll do instead is introduce you to a tomato cream sauce with real hidden depth.

pasta with butterPasta with butter

Thanks to site visitor Dedi from New York for supplying this quick and scrummy dinner dish via my Reader Recipes page. All you need is unsalted butter and some breadcrumbs. Fling on a fried egg for a breakfast pasta-style treat.

planting basilQuick Guide: Planting basil

So many pasta meals use basil - from lasagna to pesto sauce - that it's always useful to have some kicking around at home. So why not ensure this by growing it yourself? (Thanks to Megan from No Dig Vegetable Garden for her help with this page).

italian cook booksTop 3 Italian cook books

If you only ever buy one Italian cook book, I suggest you make it one of the 3 here. I've used these tasty tomes for years now, and I'm still loving to learn their recipes. The Silver Spoon in particular is an absolute revelation, not least because it's now finally available in English!

pasta cooking panPasta Pan Store

If you're in need of a new pasta pan, this carefully chosen Amazon selection should help. You'll find all kinds of kitchenware here, from Rachel Ray's popular anodized aluminum beast to a Gordon Ramsey set and various 8- and even 12-quart options.

Pastafact #10

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest strand of pasta ever made measured 1,806 m (5,925 ft). This major mouthful was produced by Potenzas' Council in Potenza, Italy on August 9, 2006.


Hi Matt,

I live in Mumbai, India....and I have a seven year old who can eat pasta for every meal, seven days a week. I don't like giving him packaged pasta all the time, so I searched the net for homemade pasta and came across your site.

make garganelli pasta shapesSo I have a question. I am a vegetarian so do not use egg.... can I make pasta without egg? And is there another way to stick garganelli?


Hi Sheetal,

I know how your little one feels... I'm exactly the same!

You can easily make homemade pasta without egg, just by using a different kind of flour (which makes the mixture thicker). This is durum wheat 'semolina' flour. See the full vegan pasta recipe here:

As for garganelli, I would have said to use a dab of milk, but I'm guessing your son doesn't eat any dairy food? If not, I'd try a little water and see how that goes.

Do let me know how you get on, and all the best!


Site of the Month

no dig vegetable garden

If the 'current financial climate' has begun to bite at home, why not try growing your own ingredients? This way you can ensure they're not full of nasty additives, plus you'll get that lovely fuzzy feeling that comes from having created something from scratch. Megan's excellent No Dig Vegetable Garden site is packed with clear, helpful advice.

Learning La Lingua

So you're in Italy, you need to buy groceries, but you don't know the names of anything. Not to worry.

Here are my Top 10 Ingredient Primers:

1. Basil = Basilico

2. Parmesan cheese = Parmiggiano Reggiano (ggi = "jee!")

3. Garlic = Aglio (pron. ah-lee-oh)

4. Belly bacon = Pancetta (pron. pan-chetta)

5. Mozzarella cheese = the same, mozzarella

6. Wine = Vino (pron. vee-no)

7. Onions = Cipolle (pron. chi-po-lay)

8. Plain flour (i.e. for making fresh pasta) = farina (pron. far-ee-na).

Super-fine flour is farina 00 ('doppia zero')

9. Tomatoes = Pomodori

10. Bread = Pane (pron. pah-nay)

Quick recommendation:

If you would like to learn Italian, I like the Michel Thomas 8-CD audio course. I've used this a lot and find it easier and quicker to learn with than any other language product (and I've tried a few!).

You can find it here on Amazon US (or here on Amazon UK).

Make Your Site Sell

Most Popular Pages: September

Carbonara sauce - Simple and moreish egg n' bacon.

Tuna pasta recipe - Good for your brain and your taste buds.

Bolognese sauce recipe - Seriously meaty and protein-packed.


Missed your FREE pasta recipe e-book? Right-click here to save it to your PC.

Like the idea of earning genuine online income at home? I recommend this free ebook.

Get updates when new pasta pages appear: here.

Get in touch with recipes, questions and more. Whatever your query, just let me know.

That's it for this month <>, ciao ciao!


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