Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Many Faces of Pasta

Have you ever thought about how many shapes pasta comes in? There are a lot and every single one is tasty.

I could eat it all day long covered with every sauce I can think of...

Pesto, bechamel, marinara, basic tomato, Bolognese, romesco, butter and cheese, vodka, Alfredo, white wine sauce, marsala, brown butter and sage, puttanesca--- I could keep going, but I might eat my hand.

So back to the pasta itself. Plain pasta without even a little butter won't make me as hungry, at least I don't think.

Angel hair, vermicelli, spaghettini, spaghetti, linguini, fettucini, lasagna --- and that's just a few of the long ribbon style Italian pastas!

Then you have tons of shaped pastas. Everything from shells and decorative pastas of all shapes and sizes, to tubes of every bend and size imaginable, and pretty much everything else under the sun.

Gnocchi, spatzle, orzo, couscous, pedehe -- they're all pasta too.

I remember eating alphagetti from a can, but I'm not sure that's a real Italian pasta shape.

Then, if you start to add in all the other pastas from Asia like soba and udon noodles, well the list would be a mile long.

I'm not done yet. I've barely began!

Next, you've got your filled pasta. I usually just call them tortellini but I know they all have different names. They're just so hard to remember.

Tortellini and tortelloni are basically the same thing, ring shaped stuffed pasta, but tortellini are the smaller cousin of the two.

I might be able to remember which is which if it stopped here, but that's not all the filled pastas.

Not for a moment.

This little game of changing the name if the size of the stuffed pasta changes remains pretty constant because you also have your basic ravioli, a square stuffed pillow of pasta, and his big and little cousin ravioloni and ravioletti.

But then you also have the filled pasta that I usually make and call tortellini.

My pasta looks nothing like tortellini and I have just discovered that it is actually a real pasta called Pansotti -- made from folding a square piece of dough, with a spoon of filling in the centre, from one corner to the opposite to form a triangle.

I don't care what's it's called. Pasta is tasty and for this girl, the question posed by Juliet can be answered with a resounding yes!

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

So tortellini or pansotti, I don't care. Give me pasta and I'll be as happy as a clam.

Try my stuffed pasta recipe if you like. Let me know if I should change the name from Philly Mushroom Tortellini to Philly Mushroom Pansotti. I've come to the conclusion that it's a fun to try and get people to play name the pasta game as we eat, so I think I'll leave it wrong for the fun of it.

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