by Correen Coultas
You would think that pasta is pasta. I thought that too. I had always bought store brand pasta. It was cheap and easy to fix. It is so nice when stores have sales on items you wouldn’t normally buy so you can indulge once in a while. And that is how I came to buy Barilla® pasta.
The Italians know pasta so I thought I would give it a whirl and see what all the hoopla was about. I discovered my first problem was the actual cooking of the pasta. I actually cooked pasta to death! The store brands, and I have tried several kinds, literally turned mushy or they were excessively starchy. They were also flavorless so if the sauce was not top notch, the meal was not either. Even if I tried to add salt, or herbs and spices to the pasta water, it did little to improve the flavor of the mushy mess. Even when cooking store brand pasta to al dente, the flavor was lacking. When I tried Barilla® pasta-spaghetti first-I cooked it according to the package directions. I cooked it in salted water to al dente and right away I noticed that it smelled like something was actually cooking. The texture was firm, but not hard and it actually has a flavor. Add your favorite sauce and you have a great meal!
I started using Barilla® pastas in other recipes: tri-color rotini in pasta salad, linguine in place of spaghetti just because I liked the wider noodles, farfalle in salads and pasta bakes and elbows in goulash. My new favorite is orzo. I put it in my vegetable soup recipe (I have included it below!) and I love it! The stores I visit carry several types of Barilla® pasta, but there are over 30 different shapes to the classic blue box pastas. Barilla® also makes tortellini, fiber rich pastas, whole grain and veggie pastas – I have only been able to find the whole grain pasta where I shop. I have found that the kind of pasta you use does make a difference. And if Barilla® has been making it for over 130 years, they have the recipe perfected, and I will continue to use it. When the stores have it on sale, it is cheaper than the store brand and I can deal with that too!
I am not being compensated by this company for this review. It is my own opinion~Correen Coultas
barilla photo: http://www.google.com/shopping
soup photo: Correen Coultas
by Correen Coultas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 small potatoes, small cubes
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small summer squash, sliced and halved
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1-15 oz. can stewed tomatoes or small diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or stock
1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup orzo
1 cup fresh spinach, optional
6 to 10 drops chipotle hot sauce, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven. Stir onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes frequently for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and squash, thyme and bay leaf and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in beans and pasta and simmer 10 minutes. Add spinach just before serving. Season with chipotle sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf!
Fast, easy and very good!