It feels like most of us are taught that pasta is “bad for you” and not to eat it unless you want it “going to your hips!”
This is not the case.
Pasta is generally low in sodium. Pasta serves as a great source of folic acid, iron, B-vitamins — and is low on the Glycemic Index (meaning it provides a slow release of energy, without spiking your blood sugar).** As long as it is consumed in reasonable portion sizes (don”t overdo it!), pasta is a excellent meal choice — both for your health and wallet.
Let”s not forget to mention that pasta is fun to eat! With so many different shapes, you can have a different meal every night. And what some people do not realize is that each shape has a different purpose, such as the type of sauce or meal it”s paired with.
Here are a few of my own favorites:
Meaning “bellflowers” in Italian, campanelle pasta pairs well with most sauces — hearty and thin, alike. Cheese, vegetable, meat, fish and tomato are all great choices.
My love for fusilli pasta may just stem from my obsession with Seinfeld (“It”s fusilllllli-Jerry!”) but that doesn”t mean it isn”t a great addition to the pasta family. Its shape allows it to be used with any type of sauce. You might find fusilli in soups, pasta salads and casseroles.
These “little ears” are such a cute pasta. They remind me of a shell shape, but are much thicker. These little guys are great with a thick, cheesy, garlicky sauce. A perfect solution for those of us who like our pasta on the thicker, chewier side.
It may just be the Mediterranean in me, but I grew up on orzo. Orzo is great by itself with a little butter, salt and pepper — seriously, no cheese even needed. It”s also delicious while paired with seasoned meat (you can thank my father for that one). Orzo is the perfect size to use in soups, as well!
Wagon wheels! These were a favorite of mine growing up. Did you ever make pasta creations in art class as a kid? We used to paint these wagon wheels different colors and make them into cool things like necklaces, and glue them on stryofoam to make statues. But even beyond the kindergarten classroom, the spokes in the pasta are awesome for capturing chunkier foods — tomatoes, meat, veggies, etc. Also, they”re just fun to eat in general!
Tell me these shell shapes don”t bring you back to homemade macaroni and cheese? Shell pasta come in jumbo, large, medium and small –but unless you”re making stuffed shells, you tend to stay close to the smaller varieties. Large shells are great for meatier sauces, while medium-small are used for pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, and other dishes.
What are your favorite pasta shapes? Sauces? Dishes? Pairings? Share with us.
+ Social Grocery on Facebook
+ Social Grocery on Twitter
** National Pasta Association