Sorry it's been a while but I've been simply consumed by recipe writing and all things Pastastic.

pastastic MattAs a result this issue is simply jam-packed with tasty stuff...

Inside you'll find 2 new pasta salads, hearty chickpea soup, pasta with shrimps, a Facebook update, a recipe book sneak-peek, and a cute witching tale that your hungry offspring will love.

Let's dig in...

Inside this burstin-at-the-seams issue:

Find Me On Facebook

If you're on 'FB', surely you should be a Pastastic fan? ;-)

Recommended Read: Strega Nona

A friend's toddler just loves this kid's book about a friendly witch with a magic pasta pot. If you have little ones, maybe they'll like it too.

New Recipes & Pages

Two salads, a hearty soup, shrimp pasta, and a quick-guide to the best-related electric pasta machines.

Pastafact #14

Lasagna-related toilet talk.


More pasta posers answered - spanning veggie recipes for lent, macaroni rings, freezing lasagna and feeding wedding guests.

Italian Wine Quiz

How well do you know your brunello from your barolo?

Reader Submitted Pages

Carol gives her thoughts on the Cucina Pro pasta machine and 'eratosthanes' submits a whomping veggie sauce.

Now That's Customer Service!

Over in Italy, Imperia and Marcato came through with flying colors when asked to help out two pasta-loving readers.

Learning La Lingua

Following on from the 'nonna' of the kids' book above, we talk family.

Ciao for now,

Pastastic Matt -

"Cu mancia fa muddichi" (a person eating must make crumbs)"
Sicilian proverb

Find Me On Facebook

It's official... Pastastic is now in full effect on Facebook.

If you become a fan, you'll get quick updates whenever I post a new scrummy recipe. You can also comment on recipes, add photos, upload videos, whatever you like really. It's really an open I hope every pasta lover will enjoy. Here's the link:

Pastastic Facebook

And in case you missed it last time, I'm Twittering like nobody's business too :-) That's here:

Pastastic Twitter

Recommended Read: Strega Nona

Strega NonaBased on an Italian folktale about a friendly Grandmother Witch ("Strega Nona"), this charming little book (in English) sees Nona wow her helper 'Big Anthony' with her magic pasta pot. (Finicky Fact: it also sees the author misspell 'nona' (it's nonna) - see Learning La Lingua below...)

Anyway, if only 'Big Tony' (who isn't in the Mafia, I promise) hadn't tried to make some pasta while Nona was out, the town wouldn't have ended up with such a whopping pasta problem. The big oaf! A very cute kids' tale.

Find Strega Nona on Amazon here.

New Recipes & Pages

shrimp and pasta recipeShrimp and pasta recipe

If you like shrimps or prawns (what you call the little critters depends where you live it seems), you should love this pappardelle pasta dish. Made with molten courgette, it's a slick n' slippery feed.

electric pasta machinesTop 3 electric pasta machines

If you want to take the strain out of fresh pasta making, you might appreciate an electric pasta machine, the argument being: "Why turn a crank when you can press a button?". Here you can discover the 3 models consumers love best, plus a newbie I rate.

Asparagus pasta salad recipeAsparagus pasta salad recipe

Our second pasta salad of this issue is a crunchy fresh asparagus special, with wild mushrooms and the slight acid 'bite' of sun-dried tomatoes. So what are you waiting for? Get down the market and get busy! Includes Video Guide.

chickpea soup recipeChickpea soup

Then again, if it's still chilly around your parts (erm...), heat your belly with this formidable pasta soup. I just learned it and it's become an instant favorite. Tip: it looks swell with 3-color spaghetti in there! Includes Video Guide.

summer pasta salad recipeSummer pasta salad

If the weather is warming up where you are, this quick n' fresh caprese-style pasta salad could be just the tasty lunch you're looking for. All that's cooked is the pasta... the rest you just chop and stir. Juicy stuff. Includes Video Guide.

Pastafact #14

lasagna etymologyAccording to, the 'etymology' (origin) of the word lasagna is really pretty gross. It apparently came from the Greek 'lasanon' which means, erm, chamber pot!

The Romans then - allegedly - updated it to 'lasanum' to refer to a cooking pot. Later on the word lasagne (the plural of lasagna) came to refer to a dish cooked in such a pot, then eventually became associated with the particular layered feast we know today.


Pertinent pasta-related posers from readers around the world.

Click the links to read the full questions and answers. And feel free to add your own comments too!

Recommended vegetarian pasta recipes for lent?

How to freeze an uncooked lasagna

How to keep 40 pans of lasagna warm for a wedding reception (and related thoughts)...

Ring macaroni explained

Where to buy computer shaped pasta - do you know where?

Got your own pasta question? Ask it here.

Italian Wine Quiz

Italian wine quiz

My friend Darby from has a real head-scratcher of an Italian wine quiz for you this month.

From regional wines to names, quality marks and more, this tricky test will really get your grey matter moving:

Take the quiz here

Reader Submitted Pages

Carol reviews the great-priced Cucina Pro pasta machine:

Cucina Pro machine review

... and 'eratosthanes' recommends a veggie sauce with quite a name to live up to!

Best vegetarian pasta sauce

Now That's Customer Service!

Imperia Marcato customer serviceWhen 2 readers wrote to me recently with questions about the quality of a certain Imperia pasta maker model and a problem with a failing Marcato machine, I contacted the respective producers in the hope that they could provide more info.

The result?

Both replied to my emails, with plenty of follow-up answers too, and yours truly was duly impressed. Kudos to both... read the threads here:

Williams-Sonoma pasta maker quality

I broke my Atlas pasta maker!

Learning La Lingua

The book above mentions a lady called 'strega nona' (grandmother witch), but in fact the second word is spelled incorrectly - grandma is in fact 'nonna'.

As for the other members of an Italian family, these go a little something like this...

- Mamma - mother

- PapĂ  - father

- Fratello - brother

- Sorella - sister

- Nonna - grandmother

- Nonno - grandfather

- Cugino/cugina ("coo-jean-oh/ah") - cousin (m/f)

Quick recommendation:

If you would like to learn Italian, I very much recommend the Michel Thomas 8-CD audio course.

I've used this a lot and I've found it easier and quicker to learn from than any other language materials (and I've tried a few!). You just grab a coffee, press Play, and then speak when Michel asks you to. It's excellent.

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

Coming soon...

pasta recipe bookAfter almost a year in the works, Pastastic: The Official Recipe Book is creeping closer to launch.

This 120+ page digital ebook will be packed full of clearly explained pasta recipes (some of which are not even on the site), and will be a fully printable, shareable digest of dinner ideas that I hope you'll love.

Expect some great accompanying extras and an exclusive Pastastic! subscriber launch price. More soon...

Most Popular Pages: Feb/March

Vegetarian pasta recipes - Meat-free, but certainly not lacking in taste.

Bolognese sauce recipe - In contrast, this baby is nothing if not full of meaty goodness.

Pasta art - Dazzling posters and printed foodie pieces for every kitchen.


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Get in touch with me here.

Ciao for now <>,


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