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My whole wheat pasta was really really blah...bland & tasteless

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fauchon Aug 4, 2009 11:30 AM

The pasta was from rustichella d'abruzzo, a quality Italian brand. I cooked it in salted water, timed according to the package. By the time I added a tuna & spinach sauce, it was OK but, still, the pasta itself was b-o-r-i-n-g.

Any ideas to add flavor, taste, zip?

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  1. lynnlato RE: fauchon Aug 4, 2009 11:41 AM

    I want to like whole wheat pasta, really I do, but it seems I am always disappointed. It usually has a taste and texture reminiscent of cardboard. :(

    I've had better luck with multigrain pasta. I find these, like Trader Joe's, to be lighter and more palatable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lynnlato
      greygarious RE: lynnlato Aug 4, 2009 12:00 PM

      Can't say I've found WW pasta bland or tasteless. I second your rec for TJ's multigrain. National brand options like Barilla Plus and Ronzoni Healthy Harvest also have a better taste and texture than 100% whole wheat pastas. That said, of the strictly whole wheat ones, I prefer the TJ's version, probably because they have a high turnover. Some of the pricier imported brands I've tried have been rancid, or very unpleasant tasting.

      1. re: greygarious
        d
        DGresh RE: greygarious Aug 4, 2009 03:10 PM

        I agree; I like the "plus" versions which are a mix of various grains and which I think have a better flavor than pure whole wheat. I've pretty much given up on plain whole wheat. I have to buy supermarket stuff as I don't have a TJs or WF nearby.

    2. m
      madkittybadkitty RE: fauchon Aug 4, 2009 11:52 AM

      wholewheat pasta needs like twice the flavor of regular. think lots of semi-sundried tomatoes, a whole head of roasted garlic, tons of parmigiano. double up on the spices, and go heavy on the acid and salt. it'll taste great!

      1. cassoulady RE: fauchon Aug 4, 2009 12:05 PM

        I can not eat whole wheat pasta. It just doesnt taste good to me. I dont eat a ton of pasta so when I do, I prefer to eat regular pasta.

        1. a
          adamshoe RE: fauchon Aug 4, 2009 05:03 PM

          Add me to the "yecch" crowd on 100% WW pasta. The blends are OK, but I prefer 100% semolina for dry pasta, and a mix of three parts AP flour to one part semolina when making fresh pasta. adam

          1 Reply
          1. re: adamshoe
            lynnlato RE: adamshoe Aug 4, 2009 05:09 PM

            Ditto! You've done it now - I'm craving fresh pasta. Damn!

          2. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: fauchon Aug 18, 2009 07:18 AM

            I swear by bionaturae whole wheat pasta... it is sort of expensive... but it is the only whole wheat pasta I've tried that doesn't taste gummy.

            http://www.bionaturae.com/pasta.html

            1 Reply
            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
              Mawrter RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 18, 2009 07:44 PM

              I think they're the best, too.

            2. Soop RE: fauchon Aug 18, 2009 07:26 AM

              What are the wheat noodles, the ones you get at places like wagamama?
              Those are great. Can't remember if they're soba or.. something else.

              But I don't know if they're made of something different

              1. d
                dmd_kc RE: fauchon Aug 18, 2009 09:48 AM

                fauchon, the Target Archer Farms brand is pretty flavorful, I've found -- but I'm with the others below who like the legume/grain blends better. Barilla Plus is my favorite.

                However, I want you to share your method for tuna and spinach sauce, please. That sounds like something right up my alley. I've never found a healthy tuna sauce that really did it for me -- though the really fatty blended ones are superb.

                3 Replies
                1. re: dmd_kc
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                  fauchon RE: dmd_kc Aug 18, 2009 01:35 PM

                  It's so simple I'm almost embarrassed to pass it along. I saute lots of garlic in olive oil (I use a Le Creuset wide buffet pan), add the slightly undercooked pasta, top w baby spinach & turn over (the heat of the pasta will cause the spinach leaves to soften & finish cooking the pasta), last of all I add the tuna (anything from bumble bee to ventresca depending on what I have on hand). Do NOT let the tuna cook or even get hot...it will warm up a bit from the pasta but that's enough. Add red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper if you have it. That it's. I have made this for years & got the idea from an excellent but long-gone restaurant.

                  Hope it works for you. Be sure to use plenty of garlic.

                  I make this with DeCecco Spaghettini #11 but I will try Barilla Plus. Thanks for the rec.

                  PS: I use only canned/pouched tuna for this because that's how the restaurant made it. Sort of like salade niçoise I suppose...never as good when they try to fancy it up with fresh tuna.

                  1. re: fauchon
                    k
                    knitterbetty RE: fauchon Aug 18, 2009 05:58 PM

                    I'm going to make this for the first time. Do you turn the heat off after you top with the baby spinach, or do you turn over the whole thing so the baby spinach is covered by the pasta? thanks. I'm another fan of Barilla Plus.

                    1. re: knitterbetty
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                      fauchon RE: knitterbetty Aug 19, 2009 05:16 AM

                      I leave the heat on low so the pasta will finish cooking & there's sufficient heat to wilt the spinach. No, I don't cover the spinach w the pasta...I turn & toss so the spinach is distributed throughout the pasta. Then I turn off the heat & add the tuna on top. At the table I gently turn/toss again so the tuna is also distributed through the pasta but doesn't cook.

                      I forgot to add that if the pasta + spinach looks dry, I add either hot pasta cooking water (I always save some when I drain the pasta) or oil, depending. I do this while the heat is still on to help the pasta absorb more flavor.

                      Thanks for the vote for Barilla Plus. It on top of my "next try" list.

                      Hope your pasta turns out well...

                2. bayoucook RE: fauchon Aug 19, 2009 05:17 AM

                  I would prefer never to have pasta again if it had to be whole wheat - it takes everything I love about pasta away - could do with the Plus ones if I had to. We have good old Barilla pasta about once a week. About to go to Italy, so will try to pick up some pasta and other stuff there.

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