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Done with Pasta

Has anyone else just given up eating something they've always eaten their entire life? In the past six months, I've basically given up pasta. I realized about a year ago that I was so sick of most tomato based sauces. Not that they are necesarily bad, but just all in all boring. Don't get me wrong a good ragu, bolognese, etc is amazing, but just the plain jane Sunday sauce (I refuse to call it gravy). It just seems to me that when eating any pasta dish, even my favorite penne vodke, the least delectable aspect of the dish is the actual pasta. Even fresh pasta doesn't do it for me anymore. Now I can sit and eat a delicious penne sauce, chock full of chopped up prosciutto and dunk bread, broccoli, even chicken into it and be happy, but the pasta craving is gone. Even when dining out, if I try someone else's that they are hemming and hawing about, I'll grin and say, yeah, good sauce. Is it just me or is pasta just well, pasta?

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    1. re: linguafood

      +1 with the above comment! lol
      I could live on pasta with just about any sauce...but I did make an amazing gravy just the other night. Yes, we call it gravy in my family!

        1. re: linguafood

          place jfood on the bandwagin...just you

          1. re: jfood

            can't argue with that. it's you.

            1. re: Davwud

              It is absolutely you, but their is nothing wrong with that if you don,t like it you don't like it
              I always say don't yuck someones yum that works both ways

              1. re: pikiliz

                oh my gosh, what a great saying - either way. Love it.

          2. Well, pasta is a dish normally best served at home than in a restaurant, except restaurants truly devoted to treating pasta with care (which is the exception rather than the norm - for most places, it's just a guaranteed mediocre money-maker).

            For me, the pasta is the center of the action - the sauce is the condiment.

            13 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              If there were such a thing, I'd agree with you 110%! I can only STRONGLY second that.

              1. re: Karl S

                Karl I will agree with you that it is much better served at home. Restaurants tend to go a little crazy with portions of pasta and have a sauce that's lacking or vice versa, but with all due respect. If you think the sauce is nothing more than a condiment, I have to question the sauces you're eating.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  What I mean by condiment is that I want to be able to taste the pasta through the sauce. I make beautiful sauces, I might add: carbonara (the egg yolk, no cream kind), cacio e pepe, amatriciana, Hazan's tomato-butter-onion, pesto (dressed the right way), and a ragu bolognese that has earned many plaudits as the go-to over the years on the Home Cooking Board and its predecessors.....

                  Now, I do find that people, in their zeal for sauce uber alles (Italians would appreciate the use of the Teutonic tongue for this barbarism), tend to mistreat pasta. First, they don't get decent pasta. Second, they don't match the pasta to the sauce. Third, they don't cook it correctly (in very well salted water - if you're cooking your pasta in unsalted water and wonder why it tastes bland, you have your answer right there; and al dente, finished in many (not all) cases in the sauce). Fourth, they don't serve it correctly: for many sauces, pasta needs to be served on warmed plates for best effect. Fifth, they often serve too much at once. Sixth and finally, they reheat pasta leftovers (see #5 preceding) in the microwave (ugh - a recipe for mushiness unless done with extreme care and restraint). Restaurants typically par cook their pasta for efficiency, which leads to mediocre pasta that most people tolerate if it's oversauced....

                  Pasta is easy to cook...and even easier to mistreat.

                  And now that I've ranted from my throne, I will add: So let it be written! So let it be done! (Anne Baxter swishes menacingly in the background)

                  1. re: Karl S

                    These are lessons I've learned from you and Chowhound, Batali, Hazan, etc. and it's made all the difference in the world in my pasta making.
                    PS: I use whole eggs (no cream) in carbonara; do you use only the yolks?
                    PPS: Could you give me a link to your bolognese ragu please and thank you.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Per PS: You can use whole eggs - it's a little more difficult because of the egg whites to prevent scrambling - some use one egg white and multiple yolks (I've done that, too)

                      Per PPS: Eight years ago -

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1424...

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Thanks for the recipe. My stash in the freezer is getting low so I'll make this next time.

                        I haven't had the scrambling problem although I can see it happen. I mix the eggs and cheese and parsley and pepper well together before adding the pasta. And the oil, bacon, wine goes in after that. (I do the exact Hazan recipe) I just made this a few nights ago for an 85 y.o. friend. She'd never had it before and was just bowled over by it. I'm going to send her instruction for a half recipe. She doesn't cook much that's complicated anymore but she's certainly up to this.
                        Thanks, Karl.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Does Marcella add wine? Interesting -- that's new to me. However, one does add some of the reserved pasta cooking water (well salted, by the way) to add moisture and creaminess.

                          1. re: MartinDC

                            Yep, wine. Here's the recipe:

                            http://www.yum-recipes.com/Recipe/Unc...

                            No water. Has never been necessary.

                    2. re: Karl S

                      The tip about VERY well salted water has made a significant improvement in my pasta dishes, so I just wanted to say thanks for the tip!

                      1. re: cosmogrrl

                        Shh, don't tell him but he's one of my heroes :)

                    3. re: jhopp217

                      In Italy, the sauce is indeed a condiment! Pasta is not supposed to be swimming in sauce, it should just barely cover the strands (or whatever shape) of the pasta being served. There is a word in Italian "condire;" this means "to dress or flavor." It is used when speaking about pasta.

                      And if you have premium pasta, whether it is homemade or store bought, fresh or dried, then the pasta is no longer just a "vehicle" for the sauce, but an equal partner in the dish.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        I would say even merely "good" pasta (for dried, I mean DeCecco/Barilla/Ronzoni,e.g.) is a partner. Premium pasta can be a star it its own right.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          I heard Mario Batali suggest that you dress pasta like you dress salad. That has become my guiding principle. To me loosing the taste for pasta would be like loosing the will to live too depressing to consider.

                    4. I get you. Pasta is just a vehicle and a somewhat boring vehicle at that. Maybe its supposed to be boring so that it doesn't conflict with the sauce, dunno. But as far as I'm concerned bread dunk or anything else dunk away.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: marys1000

                        No, no, no :) As Karl S said, the pasta is the point. Make it good or don't have it.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Agreed. It's the SAUCE I can skip. My 18 year old daughter really knows her pasta dishes. She's always inventing a new "twist" and never, ever over-sauces. Recently, she whipped up--in a flash--the most delicious spaghetti with just romano cheese, oil-cured black olives, roasted red peppers and garlic. The spaghetti was the star; the other ingredients played supporting (clinging ;-) roles. That's the way is should be!

                      2. i agree with you .latly pasta to me is boring ,dosint mater whats on it.maybe need a break from it eh

                        1. I enjoy pasta so much that sometimes I'll have it with just a dash of salt and some chopped garlic.

                          So, yeah, like the posters up thread ... it's just you.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            When I cook pasta, I'm half full by the time I actually get to serving the dish, from sneaking tastes of the plain pasta. There's just something so basic and yummy about it, like good bread.

                            1. re: Sooeygun

                              Glad I'm not the only one. When I cook, I have it plain, taste it as I sauce/flavor it, and am happy full by the time I serve it. I like it w/ salt, garlic but also need olive oil.

                              1. re: Sooeygun

                                I agree Sooeygun! Like good bread... I usually have a small serving of pasta with sauce, followed up by a larger serving with just butter and salt n pepper. Yummy.!

                            2. Definitely agree with you. Even when I order a fettuccine alfredo with chicken, I will be most likely to eat all the chicken and try to get some of the alfredo sauce with the bread rarely touching the pasta but save a couple bites. I just never been a fan of pasta.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: vttp926

                                Fettucine Alfredo with chicken is not an 'original' pasta dish. Not wanting to go into the whole authenticity debate, but that combo has nothing to do with what pasta is all about.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Isn't fettucine still a noodle? Which to me would make it a pasta. Does it really matter that it isn't an "original" pasta dish?

                                  I rarely eat pasta be it macaroni, lasagna noodles, fettuccine, rigatoni, penne and the many more that are out there. But I will kill for the sauce of any of those pasta with some bread.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    There is entirely too much chicken going on in Italian food served in America anyway.
                                    Why you gotta have some kind of meat with every single meal? Afraid of malnutrition? Fooey.

                                    A good fettucine alfredo needs NO MEAT OF ANY KIND. Ever.

                                    Neither does a Caesar salad, dammit,except for some anchovy .

                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      'Course the Caesar salad originated in Mexico. And, as I found out on CH, the original didn't have anchovy in it!

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Well, I knew that about the Caesar, but you have to agree that everybody wants to put chicken or shrimp in it, like they do in nearly all pasta sauces.

                                        Re- the anchovy- say it ain't so!
                                        Actually, i'd heard that, but had forgotten. Wow- talk about an improvement on a dish.

                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          Well, to be fair, it did have Worcestershire sauce, which is made from anchovies. The current method just amps them up.

                                2. I gave up pasta over a decade ago for health reasons, and it was a complete 180; I was the Pasta Prom Queen. Now I eat the stuff that has all the flavor that I used to eat atop pasta, often on a bed of sauteed spinach or just with a side of veggies. I don't miss it at all any more.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: mcf

                                    It's funny I have been in that stage too, shunning pasta completely for health reasons but living with eating the pasta fixings with vegetable sides. In fact I used to swap most of my carbohydrates with vegetable sides.

                                    Now I have reached a happy compromise. No more mediocre pasta and if I feel like it, ramp up on the sauces and fixings with the portion of pasta I am serving. What I learned is, there is no substitute for it.

                                    1. re: tarteaucitron

                                      On the rare occasion that we want noodles (my husband isn't diabetic, but low carbs for prevention reasons), I have some Carb Nada noodles in the house. And we eat very low noodle to fixings ratio. I stopped trying to substitute stuff for starches, and have finally come to embrace not eating them. The only things I ever miss after over a decade are bagels and pizza. But not much.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        That does sound like a huge change, and kudos to you for having put in so much effort in making dietary changes for the sake of health.

                                        I thought I would not have to go that route when I was writing the post above, but life is funny that way. Will try to locate and try the noodles you recommend when there is a chance, to see if it works for me!

                                  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one. My wife thinks I'm crazy because I don't like pasta. First of all, the starch makes me blow up, but I mainly I eat it and it just is meh, who cares.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Shann

                                      Yea it is You.
                                      My ma makes the best HOMEMADE mac & cheese and Lasagna too. And I no longer live at home.
                                      But her dad is not a fan of pasta. Or Mac and Cheese for that matter. Like I think it is the saddest thing ever; he doesn't or wouldn't really care for or enjoy my Ma's famous and delicious HOMEMADE mac & cheese or her Lasagna.

                                      So whenever she invites us to dinner, I can never expect to see her Lasagna and hardly ever the Mac n Cheese (unless we have another guest who would eat it; she MIGHT make her Mac N Cheese) :( :(

                                    2. Reading your original post, I am wondering if you have simply doctored up your pasta fixings so much that it overshadows the original star of the dish, i.e. the pasta itself? Then I can see possibly why by comparison it has become underwhelming for you.

                                      Even though I am not a big fan of pasta dishes, especially those that most restaurants have to offer, I do enjoy pasta for its different shapes and textures. My latest discovered favourite (although it has been running for several years) is "artisan" orecchiette, where the edges are finished rough for extra toothiness and cling to your sauces. I seldom do but can imagine eating it with even just some olive oil and salt.

                                      1. I couldn't give up pasta if I tried. I find it to be much more a matter of texture than of flavor, and even though I could see eating the sauce on its own in a pinch, I've been known to eat pasta on its own on more than one occasion as well.

                                        1. OP wrote "Has anyone else just given up eating something they've always eaten their entire life?"

                                          Jhopp, there was a period when I stopped eating canned tuna because it didn't taste right to me. Pity, because tuna was my go-to lunch. Cans are easy to store in the cupboard, mayo in the fridge, I always have bread (check, check, and check). Fast forward 5-10 years and I'm eating tuna again. So maybe there will come a day when you will eat pasta again.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: pdxgastro

                                            Im not a pasta person at all...but I LOVE rice!

                                          2. I actually had a moment of sadness when I saw the title, assuming it must be someone who's recently discovered a gluten allergy or something... Eep! I don't know what I would EAT if I didn't eat pasta! And I think the simpler the sauce, the better, and mine beats the restaurants' every time... I never drown my pasta in gloppy, overly complicated sauce or try to pass off white gravy mix with garlic and bacon in it as *carbonara*!!

                                            So yeah, I guess with the exception of a few folks on this thread... just you! ;)

                                            1. It's just you, jhopp217! I could easily eat pasta daily, but I don't allow myself to - I restrict myself to once or twice a week. It's so completely versatile in terms of shapes and sauces. I adore the mouth-feel and chewiness of al dente pasta; no single other food is as satisfying to me. I'm kind of jealous of you though, as my pasta/carb addiction isn't exactly something I'm proud of. I would induce pasta-aversion if I could, but that just won't be happening for me in this lifetime.

                                              1. Recently made a nice organic whole wheat medium wide flat pasta (real nutty flavor) with cauliflower and butternut squash, san marzano tomatoes and imported parm. I think you may be in an old school 'sauce slump'. Go on-line and look for recipe ideas.

                                                1. I have been avoiding this post because it actually pains me!

                                                  I really couldnt live without pasta..really...
                                                  And the thing is I could make some sort of pasta every day for a year and never have the same meal twice...there are so many variation of shapes alone - never mind the hundres of wonderful sauces or condiments...

                                                  This post hurts me because I am sure the OP has never experienced the real wonder...
                                                  Perhaps only bad Americanized versions...?? I don't know...or maybe jhopp - you just don't like pasta!?
                                                  Oy Vey

                                                  1. I'm replying to myself because I couldn't pick from the numerous posts that followed. I will start by saying I grew up on having some of the most wonderful homemade pasta dishes ever. My mother was not Italian, but (with all due respect to my friends) could cook Italian food better than any italian mother or grandmother I've ever met. We'd have fresh pasta on certain occasions, especially when I got older and my appreciation for food grew. We had fresh basil in our backyard and tomatoes and we'd have the best pesto sauce ever. She always would put the smallest dollop in the middle and it would flavor the pasta so well. Never did she over serve sauce. I just have found that pasta in itself isn't really all that great. Yes fresh is head and shoulders above dried, but it stil doesn't get me going anymore. I will put pesto on chicken or make grilled cheese sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and the sauce. I've not had Karl S's ragu, but I've had one in particular that was so good, I just heated it up and ate it with a baguette.

                                                    As for a few comments. I know how to season pasta. I don't ever heat up leftovers in the microwave. I don't over season my sauces. I have on occasion made the mistake of mismatching a sauce with a particular pasta. I don't overcomplicate the dish, but at times will add chicken or sausage to a dish that might not necessarily be a "classic" recipe. It's not that, it's the pasta. It's, for lack of a better word, boring.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                      As others have said - just don't eat it! Lordy, there are a gazillion other things to eat. Get over it :)

                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                        I guess for me the texture and mouthfeel of pasta is a singular experience that I don't get from just dipping bread into the sauce.

                                                        I like the al dente bite and the slippery, just ever so slightly doughiness of it. Ain't nothin' like it.

                                                        And thanks again for leaving more for the rest of us '-D

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          Love the last comment. Now I might have to go out and have some, haha!

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            And I like how you describe the ways that pasta appeals with its texture. I realise the same descriptions apply pretty much to explain the main draw to Asian-style noodles for a lot of people. I know a few words in Japanese and Chinese that would be hard to translate, that describes just this kind of appeal in textures!

                                                        2. I've been trying to cut down on refined starches lately, and I hate wholewheat pasta (don't bother recommending your favorite ww pasta to me - I consider them all a travesty), so I've really cut my pasta consumption in the past few months.

                                                          I find that certain things just seem to go better with pasta. I consider myself to be a protein lover more than a starch lover, but sometimes I miss the way certain sauces go with the taste and texture of pasta. Bacon and eggs are fine, but they're not pasta carbonara. Homemade marinara is not the same on chicken as it is on pasta. Perhaps it's just tradition that keeps me liking the way starches taste with certain sauces, but it's still a hard habit to break for me.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                            If you really, REALLY miss it, while they're just like regular semolina pasta, they're not gritty and icky like very low carb or ww pasta. Carba Nada noodles can scratch the itch. I buy them online:

                                                            http://www.aldentepasta.com/carbanada...

                                                          2. Boy, I wish I were the OP.

                                                            When I started mindfully doing things to lose weight, last year, my doc and I made the following lifestyle plan:

                                                            - exercise more
                                                            - eat a big breakfast, moderate lunch and small dinner; and no snacking after dinner
                                                            - and give up one thing that I eat very often that's high-carb. That was pasta.

                                                            There are plenty of other things that I can eat that're carb-heavy. I just must stay away from my number one offender: pasta. I was eating it as often as every other day before I started dieting.

                                                            13 months later I've lost over a hundred pounds and am doing pretty well at keeping it off. Mind you, I don't recommend that everyone do this. But I had to. I have another 40 lbs. to go...

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: shaogo

                                                              Congratulations on making such healthy changes and with such great success!

                                                              1. re: shaogo

                                                                Wow- you the man! Anybody who deliberately loses that much is an inspiration to people everywhere that are looking for will power models. You're a great one.

                                                                1. re: shaogo

                                                                  when you are going mad for pasta try shiritaki noodles (I think that is spelled right) it is made from tofu. When I really need som Pad Thai, I use the shiritaki a couple of the low carbers I work with love them as a pasta substitute too. I dont love pasta anyway so I dont bother to toss it with pasta sauces by me coworkers swear by it. You can find them in most asian markets.

                                                                  1. re: julesincoq

                                                                    I think shiritaki are icky and like chewing rubber bands, but a lot of folks like them. I prefer the dry tofu noodles in the fridge at Asian groceries. They're a lot like the noodles used with sesame sauce in taste and texture. But mostly, I live a noodleless life, too. :-)

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      and have you tried kelp noodles? Goodhealthgourmet pointed them out to me in another post...haven't tried them yet, though. I'm sort of with the OP on this subject...I can really do without pasta....baked potatoes, well, that's just a whole different matter. But when I'm jonesing for marinara sauce & cheese, I'm very happy to just have that with chicken parm or eggplant...the pasta--meh!--it's the bubbly sauce & cheese that I crave and the chicken or eggplant is a better vehicle for it than the pasta (for ME anyway!)

                                                                      1. re: Val

                                                                        I haven't because I really don't miss pasta. When I first bought Carba Nada, it took me two months to work up enough interest to try them. I bought them because my husband, who low carbs, too, misses noodles if he doesn't have them once in a while. I don't think there's anything I miss less than potatoes.

                                                                        I could eat eggplant, parm or otherwise, every day of the week.

                                                                    2. re: julesincoq

                                                                      Shirataki are not made from tofu, they are made from "konyakku" (Devil's Tongue) which is a type of root vegetable. They have no calories.

                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                        Yes, I know that they are all fiber, basically.

                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                          Huh. I had no idea. I always thought they were tofu noodles. I've only had them a couple of times in pad thai and I thought they worked well there. Our chef at work has put them in chicken noodle soup and they hold up very well and don't get smushy. Everyone seems to like them - I don't eat the soup though as I'm just not fond of noodle dishes. I skip past and go to the salad.

                                                                          1. re: julesincoq

                                                                            There is a brand of shirataki noodles that adds tofu to improve the texture. Normally, they have a jelly like consistency, but the addition of the tofu seems to make it more pasta-like...

                                                                      2. re: shaogo

                                                                        Wow, congrats on the weight loss. I wish I could say I've lost weight since not eating pasta, but I seem to make up for the lost carbs with beer.

                                                                      3. Wish I could say the same, to keep the weight off but I Adore pasta, and it's on my desert island list.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                          same here. I thnk it would be the hardest thing ot give up- even though i don't eat it nearly as much as I used to, the thought of life without it is a gloomy one to me.

                                                                        2. I can't believe how many people think it's just you!!! It's not you!! Pasta is boring! I like the sauces and I love the cheese, I'd just rather have it over some veggies or a chicken breast. I love a stack of veggies (eggplant, pepper, onion, mushroom stacked up) with sauce poured over it and baked - a little melted cheese on top and i'm a happy camper. Pasta is just a delivery device for good sauce - I have no problem living without pasta.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: julesincoq

                                                                            So you genuinely dislike pasta, or have you convinced yourself of that fact b/c of a low-carb lifestyle? Not being snarky, just genuinely curious.

                                                                            I did South Beach a few years ago, and apart from it having little to zero effect on me, I absolutely hated having to live without bread or pasta. I have pasta maybe once a week, which I don't think is outrageously often, but I eat bread every day.

                                                                            And frankly, I can't imagine a life without either. Thankfully, no medical condition has reared its ugly head for me to have to change that.

                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                              I have actually never really liked pasta. I just don't see the attraction to taking something that is completely bland and then dressing it up with sauce. If the best part of it is the sauce, then I'd rather just have the sauce.

                                                                              I LOVE fresh crusty white bread! I'd be happy to dip that into my sauce. I will splurge every now and then on a wedge of bread but I wouldn't bother with pasta at all. Maybe that is why it is so easy for me to go without it :-) . I didn't start this 'low carb' thing for weight loss (though I did lose a few) I did it for a healthier lifestyle. I read Dr Gundry's diet evolution and my boss met him several times and raved. Though I would give it a try for 90 days just to see if I liked it. I love it and wouldn't go back. Having said that, I do have little treats every now and then (I plan to have one piece of bbq pizza this weekend)

                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                I can answer for me; I don't dislike it, so much as I no longer miss it. I'm never tempted to eat it.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  Well, humans are creatures of habit. I suppose one could get used to any kind of diet if it were necessary.

                                                                            2. Never had gluten free pasta, but do the low carb thing. Have a serious addiction to all things carby, there was a time we would eat pasta 3 times a week!!!

                                                                              Dreamfield's pasta is wondeful, great taste and texture- not gluten free, but it has a coating on it that prevents the body from getting a sudden blast of sugar spike.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: MNLisaB

                                                                                Actually, that glucose spike just comes hours late and lasts a very long time for many of us who test it with a glucose meter. And if you cook it as long as it says to on the package, it may not even be late. The claims on the package are false, and they know it, because so many diabetics and low carbers have corresponded with them about it.

                                                                              2. You don't have to call it gravy, or eat it if I make it, but I'm with the LOVE pasta crowd. I just can't eat it like I used to (limited stomach space) - but I do crave it. If I give in and make it, I will have something else be the star of the meal- less emphasis on the actual macaroni. After 2-3 bites, I am done but it scratches the itch. It's a comfort food, I grew up eating it often and it was rarely what I would consider 'fancy' -
                                                                                I've done the shredded spaghetti squash route, and the zucchini 'noodles' (tasty, but not the real thing) - and since it's the taste, texture and flavor of the real thing that I want, nothing else will really do.
                                                                                You've done it for 6 months, are you ready to revisit or is it over?

                                                                                1. Actually had rigatoni bolognese last night at a friend's house and had to mention it, since I made a joke about having to have it after someone's post. I will say this right now and yes it might offend some people, but here it goes. If you think the sauce is merely a condiment and the pasta is the star (insert apology in advance), your sauce sucks!

                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                    Tell that to Marcella Hazan to her face and dare to live....she will tell you your tastebuds are at fault, not her sauce or pasta. Because she does not believe uncritically that de gustibus non est disputandum.

                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                      What he said :)

                                                                                      I'd not thought about this until Batali started drumming it into my head. And then when I started cooking from Hazan's Essentials... it got reinforced. The last thing I would ever do now is "over dress" pasta. I think doing that in the past and eating at some restaurants that haven't found the "true religion" had often left me dissatisfied with pasta dishes.

                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                        If the best part of a pasta dish is the pasta (with possible exceptions being a stuffed pasta), I'd be more than happy to tell anyone, famous or not, that their sauce was not up to snuff. While I respect the greats, I've tasted quite a few "classic" recipes followed to a tee that weren't all that good. I don't deny there are people who can sit with a bowl of pasta and some butter or olive oil and be in heaven, I personally just don't get it.

                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                          Would you be willing to say that it's YOUR opinion that's clearly not held by some? If you woudn't appreciate a perfect bowl of pasta with just butter or olive oil, then you truly aren't "into" pasta. There's no problem with that. I'm not in your group and that's fine too :)

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            No, I used to like that, but as my tastes have become more refined (or should I say, I've tasted many more things), I have grown bored with pasta. Listen, I don't bite down on pasta and then run into the bathroom. I can eat it, will eat it when served it, but I will not go out of my way to eat it and I won't make it. I used to get fresh butternut squash ravioli and make it with a sage brown butter sauce and what I liked about it was the creamy filling added to the simple sauce to create a complex one. But if it had been just plain cheese ravioli or if it was some plain pasta, I don't think I'd be so enamored. Don't get me wrong, I used to eat pasta two three times a week. At least. I'm just bored with the actual pasta.

                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                              Golly, gee. Guess my tastes just aren't refined enough. And if being bored with pasta is a prerequisite, then, lord, please keep that gift from me. Please.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                I've made this comparison before but some people prefer Pamela Anderson and all the fluff and others prefer the all natural beauty of Elle McPherson. I personally wouldn't consider Pamela Anderson more refined by any means but others might. You can cover up a whole host of sins with a lot of sauce or make up.:-) But, I think good pasta can stand by itself.

                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                  chowser, I've probably never read a better reply on CH!!! Spot on. BTW, a colleague of mine many years ago sat next to Elle on an airplane. I'm not sure he's gotten over it yet :)

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    LOL, I'm a happily married woman but I'd be thrilled to sit next to her, too. She just seems so down to earth on top of it all.

                                                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                                                    But c'mon, Elle with a nice pesto sauce is better than just Elle, haha! Pam might need the vodka sauce!

                                                                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                      LOL, we all look better with vodka sauce! Don't get me wrong, I love a great sauce on a great pasta. I just think a great pasta doesn't NEED a sauce to cover anything.

                                                                                      2. Hmm, I like all kinds of pasta, at least when cooked right and the sauce is good.
                                                                                        I like trying all kinds of pasta, comes in many shapes and sizes, from Capellini D Angelo to Rotini to egg noodles.
                                                                                        And yes, Linguine is pasta.
                                                                                        How it is cooked makes some difference. Cooked in unsalted water makes it taste flat.
                                                                                        And the sauce makes a vast differece as well.
                                                                                        I used to make sauce from basic ingredients, to my taste. And added anthing from fried ground beef to real good Italian hot sausage, and sometimes a good pepperoni.
                                                                                        I used various herbs and seasonings, but Oregano is virtually a must.
                                                                                        Other kinds of sauce are okay, but I am a fan of sauce made with tomatoes, whether tomato paste or diced or crushed tomatoes. Used to get crushed concentrated tomatoes, but those seem to have vanished from store `shelves.
                                                                                        As odd as it may seem, the same basic sauce seems to taste a bit different with various kinds of pasta.

                                                                                        Oh yes, I like a "good" Pizza as well, not always as easy to find now.

                                                                                        1. It's not just you. I have nothing against pasta - I'll eat it if it's there - but the obsessive discussions people have about it seem redundant to me. It's like spending hours discussing white rice... what's to discuss? You boil it, and then top it with something that actually tastes good. I've not a drop of Italian blood in me so I see pasta as nothing more than a convenient, easy student food.

                                                                                          I guess my own example would be milk. I drank it for the first 18 years of my life living in my parent's house but when I moved out and had to buy it for myself, I discovered I didn't like it enough to pay even cheap generic prices for it. As a side bonus, I had WAY less stomach trouble after I quit drinking it.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                            Such a funny analogy. I drank Milk, Grapefruit & OJ like it was going out style when I lived at home, which was sadly, much longer than 18 years, but nowadays I buy milk for coffee and juice when I'm sick or when I'm out for breakfast. Otherwise it's water at home and nothing else.

                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                              Yeah mostly just water for me too. My whole body feels better after quitting sweet drinks and milk. One of the rare cases when the cheapskate in me produces a positive outcome.

                                                                                            2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                              The part about thinking there is nothing much to discuss about white rice. Try bringing this up with Asian hounds :) I am not in the know but I know there are many who care about what variety, quality and brand of white rice they bring to the dinner table. There are different textures and flavours, levels of sweetness and stickiness, in the world of white rice, each for a different occasion or preference. Heck, the Japanese even care about what *breed* of white rice to use for their rice crackers and mochi.

                                                                                              Just sayin'.

                                                                                              1. re: tarteaucitron

                                                                                                Tarte, that's funny because I am actually Chinese-American! I can get really annoying about Chinese cooked vegetable dishes, dumplings, steamed buns, meatballs and other things but to me rice is just rice.

                                                                                            3. I wish you strength. I could easily live on a diet of pasta dishes...

                                                                                              1. I can see it. My ex and friends go gaga over a big bowl of pasta and I was always luke warm on the idea. I eat it so infrequently that I usually forget if I have some on hand or not. I like ravioli but again it is something I eat infrequently. I have given up on rice since going low carb and have not missed it at all. One day I splurged and made rice to go with my stir fry and ended up eating the leftovers without rice. It made the stir fry bland. IMHO, it is a real triumph when I eliminate something from my diet. It shows me that over time I can learn to live without other foods that may not be good for me. (though pasta and rice are not bad)

                                                                                                1. I have never been a pasta fan either. I don't like the texture, no matter how it is cooked. I do cook and eat it because my family enjoys it. I like potatoes but do not get excited about most breads either. Now a homemade biscuit sliced in half and topped with homemade stewed tomatoes will about make me swoon as will a good yeast roll with honey butter. Otherwise, I'm just not a huge fan of most carbs but I do eat them because I feel it is unhealthy to do away with them all.

                                                                                                  1. A really good pasta can stand alone with maybe some browned butter. I also like Mizithra cheese on mine (yes, I know spaghetti factory does it, but I've been doing it long before I even heard of them!). But don't get me wrong. I also love some various sauces. My DH does a fantastic blackened chicken sauce (basically like a tomato meat sauce - no hamburger/sausage).

                                                                                                    1. I love pasta. I love the texture of spaghetti most of all. Not angel hair, real spaghetti.

                                                                                                      I'm diabetic and I have given up pasta, pizza crust, rice, mashed potatoes (sob!) Italian bread, etc.

                                                                                                      It can be done and after a while it is fine. I completely understand OP. Just dip some veggies or chicken in the sauce, pull the toppings off the slice of pizza, it's ok.

                                                                                                      Mashed cauliflower really does work, really.

                                                                                                      I love nothing more in life than a dish of garlic mashed potatoes dripping with butter

                                                                                                      Or a bowl of spaghetti dressed w/oilve oil, minced garlic, pecorino romano, and fresh tiny peas. Love it.

                                                                                                      Just don't eat it any more.

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                          It's so not sad when you realize it prevents blindness, amputations and kidney failure. Eating starches and taking meds doesn't improve mortality outcomes at all for diabetics. That's how high the quality of life stakes are as compared to eating pasta.

                                                                                                          And pasta is, after all, just paste with an 'a' on the end. :-)

                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                            I know, I know. I find it sad that one has to restrict their diet for medical reasons. I, for one, would be pretty damn sad if I were told I could never eat pasta again. Or bread. Or potatoes, or rice, or whatever starch.

                                                                                                            My genes aren't great, but I am thankful my family didn't pass diabetes on to me. Whew.

                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                              I was sad, years ago, but have made a complete adjustment, and now just think "why eat paste?"

                                                                                                              It's better that way at this point. :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                You're right, of course. And there are so many other delicious things out there to eat! We live with what we're dealt, and we better enjoy while it lasts

                                                                                                                :-D

                                                                                                        2. re: laliz

                                                                                                          Well, I am GI and eat whole wheat pasta and steam potatoes and make a pizza crust myself with a combo of wheat,whole wheat and oat and always walk after eating. I love pasta, it is just I eat it in smaller portions.

                                                                                                        3. I just never did like pasta all that much. There is one I do love and its Pappardelle, Trader Joe's has a nice one. That and the very thinnest pastas I do love, the rest I can live without no problem. Wait, excluding Mac and Cheese. I do love great mac anc cheese.

                                                                                                          1. I wish. My sauce is delicious, and I can't say my marinara is boring. Since I am relegated to just trying the pasta to test for doneness, I wish my craving for pasta were gone.

                                                                                                            I gave it up when I gave up most carbs, so I miss it. Especially linguini with carbonara sauce, oh my.

                                                                                                            1. Much Sturm und Drang about the subject. I'm not sure which post to reply to, also, so let's reply to your original one...

                                                                                                              Good pasta (both fresh and dry) does have its own texture and taste, IMO. One dry pasta (amongst others) that I like very much, even just by itself, is Cipriani tagliarelle. Make sure you salt the water. Try it. Toss it with a dollop of truffle paste + a little extra olive oil; or fresh golden chanterelles sauteed in sweet butter with a little fresh parsley - YUM! Tomatoes and meat not required.