Hello and welcome to the fifth edition of Pastastic!, your monthly guide to everything pasta-related.
(If you're a new subscriber, hello and welcome to the club!)
I've had a busy month in the kitchen - including an afternoon of new pasta lessons with 'da family' in Italy - so this newsletter is particularly packed with
Inside you'll find:
• Pasta News: Italy's favorite strikes a chord with cash-strapped shoppers.
• Mighty Machine: This Imperia classic will chop your rolling effort and provide a raft of shape-cutting options.
• New Additions: More tasty Italian pasta recipes.
• Saucy Talk: Author Malcom Gladwell explains how the food industry engineers its pasta sauces (my verdict? make your own!).
• Easy Updates: Are you a Gmail user? Read this and never miss a recipe.
• Reader Q&A: Hot, fiery stuff.
• Pastamonial: What one reader liked and why.
• Pastafact #5: Talking calories.
• Learning La Lingua: A tidbit of Italian to help you on your travels.
Matt - firstname.lastname@example.org
"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating" - Luciano Pavarotti
American consumers are worrying less about carbs and more about their dwindling cash, meaning pasta's being served up more and more often.
That's according to the National Pasta Association at least. Check out the full story here.
If you love fresh pasta but have little patience for rolling it flat, or maybe you would like to make your own spaghetti rather than just tagliatelle all the time, then I think I have the machine for you.
The first offering in my site's new product test section, the Imperia Pasta Machine SP150 is a super-sturdy, great-value steel rolling machine.
Use this to take the final rolling strain, cut your own long pasta, make even fresh lasagna sheets and more. Don't miss my full review here.
New Additions: My latest delish pasta recipes
This succulent winner is perfect for meat-munching creative types. Just squeeze out and fry some sausage, make and roll some delectable fresh pasta, whiz together your fave pasta sauce, and you're good to start doing it parcel-style. A perfect dish for impressing friends or dates.
Fresh Vegan Pasta
Suitable not only for non-dairy eaters but also those who have run out of eggs, this flour-and-water-only recipe is simple and creates a different, more translucent type of pasta (equally delicious). The key here is the flour: we use durum wheat semolina flour (don't worry - I provide a buying link).
Is it officially pasta? Heck no! Do I care? Not at all... for this potato shape offering is ridiculously easy and creates a pile of perfectly munchable little nuggets of carbs that will fill you up for the rest of the day. Waddya need? Potatoes, salt and, erm, that's it.... oh, and your favorite sauce to pour over 'em.
A second pasta-free recipe? Has Mr. Pastastic! lost the plot? Nope, I just love this dish. It takes a while, so it's a real weekender, but it tastes - no exaggeration required - divine. And it's super-flexible: use it as a starter, a side dish, in sandwiches, as you like.
Tipping Point author Malcom Gladwell explains, in detail and with some giggles, how the food industry comes up with its new pasta sauces.
Ever wondered why there are some many varieties of Ragu? Watch and learn here.
(And then think, "But are these sauces fresh?" and click here to make your own!)
Are you a Gmail user? Here's how to get instant updates whenever I add a recipe! Just follow these steps...
1. Log into your Gmail account as usual
2. At the top of the Gmail screen, click Settings
3. Click the right-hand 'Web Clips' tab
4. Copy and paste this into the left-side search box:
5. Click Search, then click to 'Add' the Pasta Recipes Made Easy RSS/news feed that appears.
That's it! Just keep an eye on those web clips - above your Gmail inbox - for new pasta recipes as they're published!
About 10 years ago I had a business trip to
Milan, where I had a great but simple spaghetti recipe. It was just spaghetti, in olive oil, with grated parmessan cheese on top. The olive oil have chopped garlic (cooked) and some type of pepper. However, I don't know what type of pepper (cayenne, chilli, or what).
I've seen a number of similiar on-line recipes, but they use different types of peppers, so I don't know what real Italians use. Also, when I make at home, I use olive oil that has had hot peppers sitting in it for some weeks rather than adding peppers to the olive oil when cooking. I feel that this way the pepper better permeates the olive oil. How do the Italians do it?
Response: Hi and thanks for your e-mail.
I think what you're referring to here is a simple and fiery spaghetti dish called 'aglio, olio e peperoncino'. It uses chili peppers (peperoncino) for that extra kick, and is really simple to prepare.
Have a mooch here for details of how my Neapolitan in-laws do it: http://www.pasta-recipes-made-easy.com/garlic-pasta-recipe.html
Hope that helps.
Got your own pasta-head-scratcher? Drop me a mail here.
The latest reader comment about Pasta Recipes Made Easy.
"Just finished up a good yummy meal of FRESH pasta, from your wonderful site again! =D. Man, I can't get over how good it tastes!" - Adam
According to the National Pasta Association, one US cup of cooked spaghetti (140g) contains approximately:
- 200 calories
- 40 grams of carbohydrates
- less than one gram of fat
- zero cholesterol.
Now who says pasta isn't healthy?
Learning La Lingua
Is your bowl of pasta finished already?
Did you drop the rolling pin on your toe?
The foot-stamping, grumpy-child phrase of choice is this: "Uffa! (pronounced 'oofa').
If you do want to learn Italian, I very much recommend the Michel Thomas 8-CD audio course.
I've used this a lot – indeed I continue to re-listen to it pretty regularly - and I've found it easier and quicker to learn from this than any other language books (and I've tried a few!), and honestly even more manageable than person-to-person evening classes in school.
All you do is 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).
Most Popular Pages: January
Here's which Pasta Recipes Made Easy pages were clicked the most this month.
Pasta search - My site's visitors are still loving this function. Seek and ye shall find (pasta that is)!
Vegetarian pasta recipes - These sumptuous treats lose nothing through their lack of meat, and thanks to all those fresh ingredients they're darn healthy too.
Reader recipes - This section is expanding slowly but surely. Look out for a recipe contest email arriving in your inbox soon, which should help this section grow even better.
Missed your FREE 5 Simple Starters e-book?
Just right-click here to save it to your PC.
Like the idea of working from home? Download a beginner-proof e-book full of ideas here.
Receive updates when new pasta pages appear:
Via my Pasta Blog.
Get in touch with recipes, questions and more. Whatever your query, just let me know.
Ciao for now!
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