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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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Archive for Pasta/Pizza

SUPER BOWL: Football Pizza

football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

It’s easy to make “football pizza.” Photo
courtesy Due Forni | Las Vegas.

 

Turn pepperoni into a pigskin with this clever idea from Due Forni restaurant in Las Vegas (the restaurant’s name means “two ovens”).

Whether you’re having pizza delivered on game day or making it yourself, it’s easy to add a football to your pizza.

  • Slice a pepperoni sausage thinly.
  • Slice mozzarella into “laces.”
  • Ten minutes before the pizza should come out of the oven, quickly remove and lay the pepperoni atop and mozzarella, as shown in the photo.
  • Return to the oven to heat the pepperoni and melt the cheese. If it’s delivery pizza, have a hot oven ready; lay down the pepperoni and cheese and heat for 10 minutes.
  •  
    Go team!

     

    MORE “FOOTBALL FOOD”

  • Football Cupcakes
  • Football Deviled Eggs: make laces with chives
  • Football Steak
  • Football Strawberries: Pipe white chocolate laces onto chocolate-covered strawberries
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Pizza

    Pizza dough, so much fun to knead. Photo by Mariha Kitchen | IST.

     

    It’s National Pizza Week. If you’re not already making homemade pizza, here’s an incentive to start.

    For the easy way, buy a pre-made crust, raw dough (we get ours at Trader Joe’s—delicious!) and add your favorite toppings. It’s healthier if you use a whole wheat crust.

    For those who like to bake, here’s how to make your own pizza dough and a championship recipe from chef Bruno DiFabio, a six-time winner of the World Pizza Games / Pizza World Championships.

    You may be a pure pepperoni person, or prefer a grilled veggie pizza. The most popular pizza toppings in America, according to one survey, are (in order) pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sausage, bacon, extra cheese, black olives, green peppers, pineapple and spinach. (What, no anchovies?)

    But if you’d like to consider more creative ingredients, including those that you rarely find at a pizza restaurant. You can also use your leftovers. For your consideration:

     

    Proteins

  • Alternative cheeses: Brie, blue, feta, Gruyère, etc. (pick out something special in our Cheese Glossary)
  • Bacon in all its forms (types of bacon)—instead of four cheeses, consider four different types of bacon
  • Chicken, including BBQ or fried
  • Fried egg (crack the raw egg onto the pizza and let it cook in the oven
  • Lamb (ground—delicious with feta)
  • Seafood: clams, crab, scallops, shrimp, tuna
  •  
    Veggies

  • Artichokes, avocado
  • Broccoli rabe, broccolini
  • Capers
  • Chiles: fresh, dried
  • Fresh herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme
  • Greens: arugula, radiccchio; fennel (sautéed); chard, kale, mustard greens (including mizuna and tatsoi), spinach (sautéed)
  • Onions: caramelized, cippolini, leeks (sautéed)
  • Potatoes: roasted, sautéed, mashed (all delicious with rosemary); sweet potatoes (especially with sage and Gorgonzola)
  • Tomatoes: fresh, sundried
  • You can make pretty much anything work.

     

    DESSERT PIZZA
    You can also make dessert pizzas with bananas and other fruits, chocolate sauce, Nutella, nuts and raisins, and other ingredients you enjoy. Check out:

  • Piña Colada Pizza Recipe
  •  
    PERSONAL FAVORITES

    We enjoy making these “fusion” pizzas, incorporating ingredients from other cultures into the iconic Italian food:

  • Asian: roast pork, scallions, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce
  • Greek: anchovies, dill, feta, fennel seeds, ground lamb, sliced grape leaves (see the different Mediterranean-inspired recipes below)
  • Russian: sliced roasted potatoes, smoked salmon and salmon caviar
  •  

    How creative can you get? This “taco pizza” is topped with ground beef, salsa, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and tortilla chips. From Due Forni | Las Vegas.

    MORE RECIPE IDEAS

  • Andouille Sausage Pizza With Onion Confit
  • Bacon & Walnut Pizza
  • BBQ Chicken & Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipes
  • Bacon, Chicken & Ham Pizza Recipe
  • Gorgonzola Pizza With Caramelized Onions or with Pear & Walnuts
  • Greek Pizza Recipe: kalamata olives, spinach, onions, feta, sundried tomatoes
  • Middle East Pizza: lamb, Kalamata olives, feta
  • Potato & Pancetta Pizza, with asparagus, brick cheese, garlic and thyme
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF PIZZA

    How did the crust, tomatoes and mozzarella get together, especially when tomatoes were considered poisonous for their first 200-plus years in Europe?

    Check it out!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pasta Without The Carbs

    Have all the noodles you want; these tofu
    shirataki are very low in calories. Photo
    courtesy House Foods.

     

    Why is “comfort food” high-carb food? What’s a pasta lover to do?

    Well, there’s spaghetti squash, and you can shred zucchini into a form that cooks up like pasta (and is delicious topped with sauce and grated cheese).

    And then there’s shirataki.

    WHAT IS SHIRATAKI?

    Shirataki are Japanese noodles that are very low in calories and carbohydrate (many have zero). They are thin and translucent, made from the colorfully named devil’s tongue yam (also called elephant yam or konjac yam). They are fat-free, gluten-free and soy-free. There are also varieties made from tofu, which does have soy and a modest number of calories.

    The Miracle Noodle brand is certified kosher by OU. The company also makes “rice” from the same yam.

     

    “Shirataki” means “white waterfall” in Japanese, a term that describes the appearance of the very white yam noodles (the tofu noodles have a more pasta-like color).

    Largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber from the yam, they have little flavor of their own. But top with tomato sauce or add to a cup of broth, and you’ve got a pretty darn good pasta substitute. Like tofu (and the tofu shirataki), they easily absorb the flavors of any dish or sauce.

    A special benefit: The soluble fiber slows digestion and prolongs the sensation of fullness.

     

    The yam-based noodles have recently been joined by tofu-based shirataki-style noodles. They require refrigeration and contain a minimal amount of carbohydrate.

    Shirataki noodles can be found both in dry and “wet” forms in Asian markets, some supermarkets and online. The wet noodles, most frequently found, are packaged in liquid.

    There are many offerings out there. The NoOodle brand has meal starters at 20 calories per serving, that allow you to enjoy great-tasting meals without packing on the pounds. They also have 50-calorie soups. The line includes:

  • Tomato Infused Angel Hair, angel hair NoOodles in a tomato flavored broth
  • Chicken Flavor Infused Angel Hair NoOodles in a light chicken broth
  • Chicken NoOodle Soup, prepared with chicken and fresh vegetables in a natural chicken broth
  •  

    Shirataki noodles are made in favorite cuts, from angel hair and fettuccine to spaghetti. There are even ziti and “spinach noodles.”Photo courtesy Miracle Noodle.

  • Tomato Risotto with diced tomatoes, spinach, and basil prepared in a tomato sauce
  •  
    COOKING TIPS

  • There is a fishy aroma when you open some packages, possibly from the preservatives. Once the noodles are rinsed and boiled, it is gone and there is no unpleasant taste. Be sure to follow the package directions.
  • The texture is gelatinous. Pat the noodles dry with paper towels) before adding to the recipe. If you still don’t like the texture, try this technique: Rinse 4-5 minutes, boil for 5-7 minutes, then rinse again in cold water again for a minute. If you want the noodles hotter, put them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  • An easy dish: heat olive oil and a garlic in a pan and add the rinsed, blotted noodles. Add whatever proteins and vegetables you have. It’s a delicious dish. You can also toss shirataki into stir-frys.
  • Some fans say the recipes taste better the next day.
  •  
    We’re coming up on the Year Of The Horse; but this may also be the Year Of The Shirataki Noodle.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Holiday Pasta

    Holiday orrecchiete with turkey sausage.
    Photo courtesy Marriott.

     

    Chef Cat Cora developed this special holiday pasta dish for Residence Inn By Marriott. It incorporates seasonal ingredients—pumpkin sage and cinnamon and turkey sausage.

    Why was it developed for Marriott Residence Inn? All rooms feature fully-stocked kitchens, as well as complimentary grocery delivery service so that guests can have any necessary ingredients delivered right to their rooms. Those who are tired of eating restaurant meals on the road can cook their own.

    RECIPE: VERY MERRY HOLIDAY PASTA

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces turkey or chicken sausage, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, thin sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BOIL water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer. Add the fresh orecchiette pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

    2. HEAT olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add turkey or chicken sausage and saute for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

    3. ADD garlic to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add white wine and reduce heat by half. Add in chicken stock, canned pumpkin, heavy cream and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed. Add the turkey or chicken sausage to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

    4. ADD the cooked orecchiette pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a warm platter or bowls; top with Parmesan cheese and fresh sage and serve.

     

    WHY ORECCHIETTE?

    Orecchiette are a short cut of pasta in a cupped shape, good for catching sauce. They work well with chunky meat and vegetable sauces.

    Orecchiette (pronounced oh-reh-KYEH-tay) is Italian for “small ears”: orecchio (ear) and etto (small). Orecchiette is plural; the singular is orecchietta.

    The cut is one of the three pasta specialties of the Puglia region of southern Italy, along with cavatelli and cavaturi. The traditional orecchiette dish in Puglia is orecchiette alle cime di rapa, with broccoli rabe (rapini).

    In some areas, a tomato-based sauce (al sugo) is served, with or without miniature meatballs (al ragù) and/or a sprinkling of ricotta forte, a seasoned sheep’s milk ricotta that’s not easy to find in the U.S. Use ricota salata instead—or default to Asiago, Grana Padano, Parmesan or Pecorino (see the great Italian grating cheeses).

     
    Check out the different types of pasta in our tasty Pasta Glossary.

     

    Tricolor orecchiete from Marella Pasta. Photo courtesy Marella.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Lasagna

    We love any kind of lasagna, but are happy to have this Pumpkin Lasagna recipe in our fall repertoire. The recipe is courtesy caterer and Lenox Home Entertaining Expert Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs Caterers.

    You’ll note in the ingredients list that butternut squash is used instead of pumpkin. This is often done in the restaurant, food service and food manufacturing industries, because it is so much easier to work with butternut squash. Mush of what is sold as “pumpkin pie filling” is butternut squash.

    Both pumpkin and butternut squash are orange-fleshed winter squash, members of the Cucurbita genus; they look and taste almost identical in recipes. The rest is, as they say, marketing. (Would you rather have a pumpkin pie or a butternut squash pie?)

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN LASAGNA

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 10 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 (15 ounces) container ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  •  

    Pumpkin lasagna for holiday season. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers.

     

    Cross-section of a butternut squash. Photo
    by Half Gig | Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Place the butternut squash directly in the oven, whole. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft enough to cut in half with little effort.

    2. CUT into quarters, place in a baking dish or large cast iron skillet, and roast for 40 more minutes or until the skin can be easily peeled away from the flesh. Cut into chunks about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size. Set aside.

    3. REDUCE the heat of the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin and the next 7 ingredients (salt through maple syrup). Set aside.

    4. STIR together the ricotta, 2/3 of the chopped mozzarella, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan in another small bowl. Set aside.

    5. LIGHTLY COAT a baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 cup of the pumpkin sauce in the dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. Spoon 1/4 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with 1/4 of the butternut squash chunks. Top with 1/3 cup of sauce.

     

    6. TOP with two more noodles, continuing to layer like this until all the cheese and squash is used. Add last 2 lasagna noodles, and remaining sauce. Dot the top with remaining chopped mozzarella and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

    7. COVER with foil. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand, covered, on a rack for 20 minutes before serving.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pasta Tips For National Pasta Day

    There are a couple of myths surrounding the proper cooking of pasta, passed down from generation to generation.

    Since October is National Pasta Month—and October 17th is National Pasta Day—today’s tip, from Care2.com, dispels those myths. (Here’s the entire article, which covers other cooking myths, as well).

    Myth: Put Oil In Pasta Water So It Doesn’t Stick

    Reality: If you remember grade school science class, oil and water don’t mix! When you add oil to pasta water, it floats on the top, away from the pasta. So how can it prevent the pasta from sticking together?

    The tip was originally suggested by a vegetable oil company, to get people to use more oil. (A similar trick was devised by the shampoo company that originally advised women to lather, rinse, and then do it again! That’s just a waste of shampoo!)

     

    Enamel stock pot from Tramontina.

     

    But worse, the oil that gets onto the pasta when you drain it prevents the sauce from clinging.

    There’s really only one benefit to adding oil to pasta water, says Care2: It will stop the water from boiling over if the pot is too short. If you use a stock pot to cook your pasta, all you’ll be doing is wasting oil.

    The real key to keep pasta from sticking: Use the largest pot, with lots of water.

     

    Don’t do this, unless you’re making pasta
    salad. Photo courtesy AlexTCooks.com.
    Check out her recipe for gluten-free calamari
    pasta.

     

    Myth: Rinse The Pasta After You Drain It

    Reality: If you want the pasta to stick to the sauce—that’s the way it should be, people—don’t rinse it after you drain it. Rinsing removes all of the starch, which helps the sauce cling.*

    Pasta pros also add a tablespoon of the pasta water to the sauce. The starch that has leached from the pasta into the water helps it cling to the pasta.

    Tip: For the best pasta-sauce marriage, finish cooking the pasta and sauce together in a skillet. This gives the pasta the most opportunity to absorb the sauce.
     
    *One exception to this myth is if you’re cooking the pasta for a cold pasta salad. A lower starch content may be desirable, so if you get instructed to rinse it, do it.

     

    ONE LAST TIP

    Be sure to add salt to the water. Some people never learned to do this, or omit it due to a desire to cut back on salt.

    But unless you’re on a serious salt-free diet, salt gives the pasta (and rice, and potatoes) necessary flavor. Without salted water, the pasta is bland.

    Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt to the rapidly boiling water.
     

    HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT AL DENTE PASTA

    MORE PASTA COOKING TIPS

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Pierogi Day

    Today is National Pierogi Day and October is National Apple Month. So how about combining the two in an easy-to-prepare lunch or dinner?

    The recipe below, courtesy of Mrs. T’s, combines lightly browned apple slices with cooked sweet onions and sautéed pierogies. The dish is topped with a sour cream-cinnamon mixture that smoothly ties the sweet and savory flavor elements together. Think of it for brunch, lunch or dinner.

    WHAT’S A PIEROGI?

    Pierogi (pee-ROW-gee, with a hard “g”) has many spellings.* But no matter how you spell it, what you get are baked or fried dumplings of central and eastern European provenance.

     

    Pierogies and apples with a side of cinnamon sour cream. Photo courtesy Mrs. T’s.

     

    Pierogies can be sweet or savory, stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese or fruit. They are usually semicircular, but can be rectangular or triangular.

    Pierogi have been made in Poland since the 13th century as a holiday food. Each holiday had its own type of pierogi recipe.
     
    *The Polish word pierogi is plural; the singular form is pieróg, but is rarely used since a typical serving consists of several pieces. Alternative spellings include spelled perogi, pierógi, pierogy, pyrogy and pyrohy. Turkish börek and Ukranian varenyky are the same food.

     

    Potato and cheese pierogi with sour cream and bacon garnish (we’d add some chives, too). Photo courtesy PolandForAll.com.

     

    RECIPE: AUTUMN PIEROGIES & APPLES

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen Mrs. T’s Potato &
    Cheddar Pierogies
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 red apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ pierogies as package directs.

    2. COOK onion slices in hot oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally until lightly browned and just tender. Remove to bowl.

    3. MELT butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

    4. COMBINE sour cream with remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in small bowl.

    5. COMBINE pierogies with onions and apple mixture; toss to mix well. Serve with sour cream.

     
    Find more pierogi recipes at Pierogies.com.

    See all the October food holidays.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Black & White Pizza

    October is National Pizza Month (although in our book, every month is Pizza Month).

    The folks at the California Olive Committee have taken a cue from the recently New York Fashion Week, where the trends included black and white. Hence, this recipe, for a black and white pizza.

    Not just another white pizza, this recipe includes Alfredo sauce, roasted garlic, smoked mozzarella, chicken and black olives. You can make or buy the Alfredo sauce (here’s the recipe to make it from scratch).

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20-25 minutes.

    RECIPE: BLACK & WHITE PIZZA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pizza crust
  • 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced, roasted garlic
  • 4 ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 sheet prepared pizza dough
  • 1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  •  

    Black and white pizza, chock full of yummy
    ingredients. Photo courtesy California Olive
    Committee.

  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 can (6 ounces) extra-large black pitted black olives, drained and cut in wedges
  • 1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced (or store-bought rotisserie chicken, torn in small pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  •  

    Grated cheese atop a dish doesn’t blend into
    a recipe; it’s front and center. Use the best
    quality you can afford. Photo by Yin Yang |
    IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. HEAT 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until onions are very soft.

    3. ROLL pizza dough into a very thin oval on a lightly floured board. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil, then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce. Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.

    4. BAKE for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around the edges. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARMESAN CHEESE AND PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

    “Parmesan” cheeses are made in a variety of countries. But authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is produced only in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna.

    By law, only the milk from local cows, whose diet is regulated according to a strict feeding discipline, can be used in the production of the cheese. The cheese is checked by an expert after 12 months; if it passes the test its rind is stamped and it continues aging for an average of 24 month, to develop prime flavors and aromas.

    In Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano is more than a grating cheese for pasta: It is part of a fine antipasto and also enjoyed for dessert, with some balsamic vinegar and a glass of fine wine. Here’s a comparison of Italian grating cheeses.
     
    See more of our favorite pizza recipes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry-Orange Pasta Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

    Bowtie (farfalle) pasta, fruit and oranges:
    delicious! Photo courtesy Kraft.

     

    What if pasta salad were more sweet than savory? That’s how it is in this recipe, a perfect way to make summer last a little longer (summer ends this Saturday, September 21st).

    Creamy lemon poppyseed dressing, mandarin oranges and fresh strawberries create this refreshing twist on pasta salad. Serve it as a first course, or as a main course for lunch with some added chicken strips.

    Prep time 10 minutes, cooking and cooling time total time 1 hour. Makes four 1-cup servings.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY-ORANGE PASTA SALAD

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups bowtie pasta (farfalle), uncooked
  • 1/3 homemade or bottled poppyseed dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 3 fresh mandarins, peeled and sectioned, or 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • Preparation

    1. COOK pasta as directed on package, omitting salt. Drain and cool.

    2. MIX dressing and mayonnaise in medium bowl. Add pasta and onions; toss to coat. Gently stir in fruit.

    3. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or longer. Serve with dressing (recipe below).
     
    Variations

  • Save 50 calories and 6 g fat per serving by preparing with reduced fat mayonnaise.
  • Substitute balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  • Optional additions: almonds or walnuts; avocado; blue, goat or feta cheese.
  •  
    To prepare the salad more than 1 hour in advance:

  • Combine dressing, mayo, cooked pasta and onions in large bowl. Combine oranges and fruit in separate bowl.
  • Refrigerate up to 8 hours. Add fruit to pasta mixture up to 1 hour before serving. Keep refrigerated.
  •  

    RECIPE: LEMON-POPPYSEED SALAD DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or use lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  •  

    Lemon poppy salad dressing. Photo © ButteryBooks.com.

    Preparation

    1. WHISK together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, onion powder and salt.

    2. DRIZZLE in oil, whisking constantly until combined. Whisk in poppy seeds.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: A Wall Poster For Pasta Lovers

    Gaze at 250 different styles of pasta! Photo
    courtesy PopChartLab.com.

     

    Passionate about pasta? How many shapes have you eaten?

    If you want to dream about having it all, this wall poster features more than 250 shapes of pasta, broken down by those that are formed by machines and dies (like fusilli, penne and rigatoni) and those that are traditionally crafted by hand (like gnocchi, pappardelle and tagliatelle).

    All pasta is made from flour, eggs and water; it’s the artistry that makes them different*. Both dried and fresh pasta are made in numerous shapes, with 310 specific forms known variably by more than 1300 different names†. But why are there so many different pasta shapes?

    For hundreds of years, what we know as Italy was comprised of warring city-states‡, under different foreign controls.

    The city-states were only united into the nation of modern Italy in 1861. Over the prior centuries, each of the city-states developed its own, insular cuisine, and there wasn’t much sharing with the others. Everything, including pasta, was made by local artisans who pursued their own culinary muses. Similar shapes (bells, flowers, corkscrews) made in different city-states have different names (yes, it’s confusing).

     
    PASTA DID NOT ORIGINATE IN ITALY

    Marco Polo is credited with bringing “pillow pasta” to Italy—the stuffed, fried dumplings of China that evolved into Italian ravioli. The Chinese also made noodles for soup. But credit for the invention of boiled pasta is given to the Arabs. Traders from Arabia packed dried pasta on long journeys over the famed Silk Road to China. It didn’t spoil and could be easily cooked over a fire.

    According to culinary historians, the Arabs first adapted Chinese noodles noodles for long journeys in the 5th century, the first written record of dry pasta. Durum wheat (semolina) was introduced by Libyan Arabs during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century and 8th century (source: Wikipedia). So it’s ironic that Italy, not Arabia, became the world’s pasta capital—and that pasta faded out of favor in the Arab world.

    With the Plethora Of Pasta Permutations chart, you can decorate your wall with 250 varieties of pasta, from obscure variations found only in hilltop villages in Italy to those stocked on supermarket shelves around the world.

    Each 24″ x 36″ poster is signed and numbered by the artists, from an edition of 500. The unframed poster is $26, with framing options available, at PopChartLab.com.

    Or, you can see all the different pasta types in our Pasta Glossary for free!

    *Superior qualities of flour, different minerals in the local waters, and different artisan techniques can make the flavors of fine pasta noticeably better from mass-marketed varieties.

    †According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta by Zanini De Vita, Oretta, University of California Press.

    ‡At the start of the 14th century, Italy was a patchwork of independent towns and small principalities whose borders were drawn and redrawn by battles, diplomatic negotiations and marriage alliances. During the 14th and 15th centuries, many of these petty principalities consolidated into five major political units that precariously balanced power on the Italian peninsula: the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, the Papal States and the three major city-states of Florence, Venice and Milan. The other minor city-states which co-existed with these larger powers made political stability in Italy even more tenuous as their loyalties shifted from one main force to another. The most powerful were Ferrara, Florence, Genoa, Mantua, Milan, Pisa, Siena, Verona and Venice. (Source: University of Calgary)

      

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