Monday, August 25, 2008

Pasta and the Farmer's Market - A beautiful convergence

I think pasta is one of the most unfairly demonized foods on the market. With all of the hype about "carbs" and "bad carbs" and "glycemic index" (which is poorly understood by just about everyone and is highly overrated as a dieting method IMNSHO), pasta really got a bad rap. When I was a child pasta was considered bad. Then it had a renassiance when I was a teen. It was revered for it's filling and satisfying qualities along with it's lack of fat. Then the anti-carb engine steamrolled into town and pasta became the thing to avoid again.

Although I find Culinate to be a bit elitist at times, I do enjoy many of the articles. The best one I ever read was called The Pasta Myth . The article first reminds us that pasta is not a high GI food. (I never believed it was. Pasta always fills me up quite well for hours.) It is also not nutritionally empty.

This is what the article had to say on the so-called poor nutritional quality of pasta:

A cup of cooked pasta — which contains only around 200 calories — provides your body with the same amount of dietary fiber as a slice of whole-grain bread, as well as more than 15 different health-promoting vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, thiamin, and niacin. Durum wheat is also one of the most protein-rich of all grains, and a cup of cooked pasta contains more than 8 grams of protein.

And to think they're talking about white pasta.

So I will continue to eat the stuff guilt-free and stick my tongue out at all of the naysayers who insist I'm eating myself to an early grave. You can comment till you're blue in the face on this post and I still won't believe you. My ancenstors have been eating the stuff for years and we all survive well into old age.

So on to the cooking part...

Look what I got at Penning's Farm Market this weekend.

Aren't those juliet tomatoes pretty? I bought some of the yellow ones too for a little contrast.

Pennings claims it carried "The Best Mozzarella in the Country". This claim is also made by Auntie El's in Tuxedo, so I take it all with a grain of salt, but I have to say the stuff is pretty good.

No recipe is needed here. I just sauteed some garlic in olive oil and tossed in the halved juliets and the quartered yellow tomatoes. In went some basil leaves (the part of the dish I grew myself) and that lovely mozzarella. I tossed it with spaghetti and added in plenty of freshly-grated parmesan (my local A&P doesn't have any imported parmiggiano-reggiano, but I'm cool with that for this dish), and some freshly-ground black pepper.

Okay. I admit I used whole-wheat pasta, which I normally shun, but I was thinking I needed some extra fiber this week.


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

This is too funny! I just made the same exact dish for dinner tonight! We must be long-lost twins separated at birth. Lol!

I love this stuff!

Emiline said...

I'm all-for pasta! It fills me up, too.
This looks delicious, with the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

noble pig said...

But I love the whole-wheat pasta, the ones they make now are amazing comared with the past. Lovely and hilarious post by the way!

Adam said...

You are so very right about pasta getting a bad rap. It's all about eating balanced meals, and pasta does it with a good source of protein and vitamins. I love the addition of the fresh mozz... I'll never forget when I first had that... amazing.

Oh and thanks for your comment on women 'bulking up'. I chuckled quite a few times... and I agree, horseback riding does wonders for your leg strength :) Posting every other second was brutal.

Dee said...

I'm deeply suspicious of people who don't do carbs. I love wholewheat pasta. Love the way it looks, love the way it tastes, and whaddya know, suddenly I'm a heath nut :)

Tomatoes+Mozzarella+Basil is like the holy trinity of food, isn't it?

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks good - I made pasta last night too. I'm trying to watch the carbs so I used whole grain pasta - lol...I put the recipe and pics up on my site.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

SGCC - Separated at birth indeed! Too funny.

Dee - It really is the holy trinity. Actually, it can always be improved by some roasted peppers and some prosciutto if you want to make it truly divine.

Noble and Darius - I have a hard time getting into wholewheat pasta. It must be my Italian- American rising up in rebellion. I'm getting better about eating it, but I only make it for myself because Sir Pickypants hates wholewheat anything.

Em - I knew you would be another pasta lover.

Lo said...

Well, look at all that good stuff! YUM.

I love pasta, and wouldn't stop eating it... even if they decided it really WAS horrible. We eat lots of whole wheat pasta around our house... and I can verify that it's waaaay better these days than it used to be.

Lore said...

This looks lovely! I sometimes eat my pasta with just some slices of fresh tomatoes and some crumbled Feta on top and I really enjoy it. You're right about the bad reputation, but I've never listen to that and listen to what my body had to say instead...and he always craved pasta :D

Bellini Valli said...

I am so happy to read this post. I have been avoiding pasta for the very reasons you mentioned...but ev3erything in moderation as they say:D Love this simple pasta dish as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!