27 January 2014

Pasta - Part III: Brands, Alternatives, and Final Thoughtz


Obviously there are numerous pasta brands out there, but here’s a small selection of what’s available.  These are the brands that I most often encounter.

Barilla: Even if barilla hadn’t made those weird anti-gay comments, they’re just not a very good pasta brand.  I haven’t bought this pasta very much in the past because it’s typically more expensive than other brands, but when I have, I’ve always had a hard time cooking it properly.  It seems to always be undercooked, and there is practically no window during which to extract the pasta at its perfect consistency.  And while I like the idea of pasta coming in the box, it usually find it to be more of a hassle than a bag.

Maybe it’s worth touching on the gay scandal that rocked Barilla in September 2013.  Essentially the Chairman stated that Barilla supports “traditional” families, and that if you disagree, then you can eat another brand of pasta.  And you know what?  If you disagree, you can just eat another brand of pasta.  It will probably help you to realize that Barilla does not produce a quality product.

De Cecco
This brand also comes in a box, but I still really like it.  I think the design is pretty good (Old Country, but not too Old Country).  I usually go for this pasta when I want to step up my game.

Catelli: Do not even talk to me about Catelli because I hate it.  Even if I didn’t hate it, it’s almost impossible to find a Catelli product that isn’t whole wheat or “smart pasta.”  I don’t know what the difference is between the two, but if there is one, I hate them both.

Primo: Of all the pasta brands, Primo is the one that I’ve probably eaten the most.  It’s cheap, most grocery stores carry it, and they’re usually the only brand that I can find in a generic grocery store that makes wagon wheels.

Italpasta: Italpasta has been my go-to brand recently.  It’s cheap and I think the quality is good.


Look, if you can’t handle pasta, don’t eat it.  If it doesn’t feel good in your body, then maybe pasta is not for you.  If you feel guilty for eating pasta, then stop it.  But for the love of God, do not subject the rest of us whose digestive systems are tough enough to handle it to these revolting pasta-tweaks or pasta-alternatives.  Have you eaten whole wheat pasta?  It is disgusting.  It never cooks properly.  It’s brown.  That is not the pasta for me.  Brown rice pasta or black bean pasta, although I have never tried either, are similarly disgusting.  Is it even pasta?  I have no idea, but whatever it is, it’s clogging up my pasta aisle.  “Clogged aisles” is probably how you feel when you eat pasta, so stop doing it and stop searching for “healthy alternatives” that mimic pasta.


I was originally planning to write a separate post for bolognese sauce, but because I’ve already mentioned it so many times throughout this post, it makes more sense to throw a little something together right now.
It’s hard to imagine that bolognese sauce is a fairly recent addition to my life.  I’m sure I had eaten it before, but I don’t remember getting serious about bolognese until that one time I was stranded in Ancona and there was nothing else to eat.  If you’re wondering whether it was particularly high-quality sauce because it was in Italy, the answer is no.  Italy, like anywhere else in the world, probably does have really good bolognese sauce, but I bet that what counts as “good bolognese” would be inedible for me because it probably includes fresh ingredients, and I can’t stand fresh ingredients in a sauce.  Bolognese sauce should always be made of canned crushed tomatoes and one small tin of tomato paste (do not consider getting any other form of tomato, such as diced or whole, because you’re going to have to puree them anyway, and you probably have a pretty cheap hand-blender that doesn’t puree very well, and you’re going to end up regretting your decision), the cheapest ground beef you can find (I always pretend that I like lean, but I actually like the regular ground beef because grease is so good in spaghetti sauce), one onion, some garlic, and then whatever spices might be available to you.  What I’m getting at is that the kind of spaghetti sauce I like is the sauce most readily available at fast-food stalls in ferry terminals in Ancona.  It is worth noting, however, that I have not limited myself to fast-food spaghetti bolognese.  Far from it, I actually orchestrated an elaborate marriage scheme in order to secure myself a life-time supply of spaghetti bolognese: I scoured the entire globe until I found the best bolognese chef alive today, and then I married them. (Boldog születésnapot, keleti szépségem.)

But it might be unfair to give Ancona full credit.  Previous to this experience in 2005, I had already started to get involved with baked lasagnas that were cooked with bolognese sauce and thankfully without ricotta cheese or bechamel sauce.  At that time--sometime during high school--I didn't consider the possibility of eating pasta with bolognese sauce.  It is typically the case with me that even though I like a certain kind of food in a certain kind of way, I am still unwilling to try that same food prepared in a slightly different way.  Even though lasagna should not be considered a direct cause of my later love of bolognese sauce, I think on some unconscious level it probably opened my mind to the possibility, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more starchy and more satisfying.
Summer is an unknown, but come what may,
Thou are steadfast and always appetizing.
Beads of melted cheese on thine ridges shines
My love for thee has not once been dimmed
Come hither! Prick thyself on my fork tines
Sauce, cheese, and pasta: mine bowl hath brimmed!
My commitment to thee cannot be sway’d
When thou art absent I am at my low’st
Accept this sonnet as my love display’d
I hope the gesture will not go unnotic’d
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives thee, and thou give life to me.

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