What’s the first thing you think of if someone says “Let’s have Italian for dinner!”? I am going to bet you a glass of fine wine that it’s pasta! Pasta is on just about everybody’s favourite food list, possibly since there is a variety made for every taste and preference. From lasagne to spaghetti to fettuccine, there’s something for everyone, and it’s all delicious!
Among my favourite places to go in Australia for real, homemade Italian pasta dishes is the fine dining available at the Mt Druitt restaurants. Their pasta dishes are simply scrumptious, fresh, seasonal ingredients made with old-world know-how, this is where you can experience the art of pasta done to perfection!
Italian pasta is rapidly growing in popularity across the globe. When I was a kid (so long ago!), spaghetti was just about the only pasta available at the local market, now you can walk down the aisle and be treated to a bewildering variety of this amazingly versatile food, and you will feel as if you’ve wandered through a magic portal to old Rome!
Now that you’re getting hungry, let’s have a look at some of the many unique varieties of pasta we can tuck into in these enlightened times.
Bucatini – Made from durum wheat flour and water, this 24-centimetre-long pasta resembles spaghetti but has a hollow tube running through it. The hole isn’t big enough for stuffing, but the sauce can flow through it to coat the insides, making it doubly delicious. The name comes from the Italian word buco, meaning “hole”.
Cannelloni – Another hollow tube, but much larger, allowing it to house delicious stuffings like ricotta cheese, minced meats, and spinach. Once stuffed, cannelloni is baked in the oven and smothered in tomato sauce.
Conchiglia – Named for the Italian word for seashell, this quaintly shaped pasta is made from durum wheat, making it a sturdy vessel for holding sauces. Conchiglia is available in several different colours like tomato paste orange and spinach green. A favourite with kids!
Farfalle – Known as “bowtie” in English, this delightful pasta is actually named for the butterfly which it also resembles. Farfalle is not only very cute, it’s quite versatile and can form the base of a casserole or simply be eaten on a plate with tomato sauce.
Gemelli – This pasta’s name comes from the Italian word for “twins” as it resembles two strands of short noodles twisted around each other, although they are actually of one piece. Gemelli is great for both cold salads and baked dishes.
Orzo – This unusual tiny treat resembles “barley”, for which it is named, but it is actually made from pasta! It’s often served in chicken soup and is also great in salads.
This list barely scratches the surface of the amazing variety of Italian pasta available. The only way to pick your personal favourite is to try them all!
Australia offers great food for every taste, so come on down under and bring your appetite!