Pasta Snob


One of the amazing/frustrating thing about getting into food is realizing how many different things there are to be snobby about. Yes, of course you must have your favorite pinot noir, form an opinion on whether putting cheese on seafood is acceptable, and decide if you think using truffle oil is cheating.

But then you realize you also have to know which butter you prefer (a premium one for bread and a basic one for baking, please), which goat cheese is the best, and the difference betwee sea salt and kosher salt.

One thing that I never thought to be snobby about is pasta. It’s so cheap and simple that it just never occurred to me. Sure, I’m aware that eating a freshly-made bowl of linguine while relaxing on a balcony in Naples is preferably to the daily special at the Olive Garden, but when it comes to buying the dried stuff, the toughest thing I ever thought about was whether I felt like wagon wheels or elbows.

Until now.

I don’t know why, but at the food co-op this week, something compelled me to bypass the generic stuff and buy a bag of slightly fancy-looking organic rombi pasta from Bionature. I didn’t read the package or anything at the time, but thanks to the interwebs I now know it is imported from a factory near Pisa, where it is made using organic semolina and whole durum wheat grown on family-owned farms that have been using traditional agricultural methods for centuries, and slow-dried at low temperatures to preserve the flavors. OK, whatever that means, but here’s my point: it’s delicious!

Of course it’s still not fresh pasta, but it’s got none of that gummy dry thing that needs to be masked in pesto or marinara. The smooth pasta itself has a hearty burst of flour-y flavor that made we want to eat the whole bowl, no truffle oil or butter necessary.

So it got me wondering – what brand of pasta do all you food snobs out there buy? It’s like a whole new world and I don’t even know where to begin.

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  • gansie April 30, 2008  

    yea, i’m not so good on this one. i usually try to buy whole wheat pasta, thats about it.

  • Liza April 30, 2008  

    I actually bought organic semolina and whole durum wheat Lasagna noodles (I must admit, only because they said no boil, just bake) but I haven’t tried them yet! But NOW I will!

  • Caroline April 30, 2008  

    I don’t make pasta very often, so when I do I usually pull out my great-grandmother’s pasta machine and make it from scratch. I really don’t like dried pasta, but then again I’ve never tried the nicer stuff.

  • MissGinsu April 30, 2008  

    New York has such awesome fresh pastas, it’s hard to resist the charms of some of the handmade products. My boss swears by Raffetto’s on Houston street. Here’s him talking up the joint:

    “Have you been to this place? They make it right there in front of you. It’s been there for a million years or something. But I gotta say, it was the most bizarre experience. As I was buying the pasta, people were doing some kind of confessional at the checkout line. To the checkout clerks. Amazing stuff. Stuff like, ‘You don’t know what your pasta means to me and my family.’ ‘It’s not the holidays if we don’t have your pasta.’ And you could tell they meant it. All these amazing quotes just pouring out of people. And yeah, the pasta’s pretty great.”

  • BS April 30, 2008  

    wow that is some high praise – I will have to check that place out.

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