Ahh, pasta. It’s carb-y goodness can be served so many ways: soaked in a red sauce, smothered in cheese, or just with a pat of butter. Despite being one of the first dishes we all learned how to cook, many of us don’t have a thorough pasta vocabulary. There are over 200 types of pasta that can be prepared countless ways!
To brush up your pasta know-how, here are some of the basic shapes of pasta. The shape of the pasta will determine its cooking time and how it is best served.
The spaghetti noodle is a classic with meatballs, but there are lots of other long form pastas. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti with a hollow center, designed perfectly for soaking up sauce. If you’re looking for a light side dish, angel hair’s thin, delicate noodles pair well with a bit of olive oil and cherry tomatoes.
Ribbon shaped pastas are perfect for thick veggie and meat sauces. Their long and wide shape is the perfect vessel for carrying sauce from bowl to mouth. Think lasagna and spaghetti’s flatter cousin, fettuccine.
These shapes are great for holding hearty and cheesy sauces. Maccheroni elbows (the “mac” in mac ‘n’ cheese), cylindrical rigatoni, and curly-cue cavatappi are all perfect for throwing in the oven for a pasta bake.
Shaped pastas are so fun! Did you know they all have fancy names? Bowtie pasta is actually called farfalle, shells are really conchiglie, and pinwheel pasta go by rotelle. Gigli pasta is a less common shape that looks like a flower, and pairs best with a pumpkin sauce.
Not only is pasta super delicious, it is also relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare and good for your health. The health factor will depend on the choices each individual makes. It is best to to combine nutrient-dense foods like; fresh vegetables, beans, monounsaturated oils, heart healthy fish, poultry and lean meats instead of canned veggies, fatty or processed meat, high sugar store bought pasta sauces and artificial cheese. Pasta is a high source of complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release of energy and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. This will drastically reduce unwanted snacking throughout the day. Pasta is also low in sodium and cholesterol-free, which is perfect for those who have to follow low fat diets. It is however very important to make sure you are consuming the right portion sizes. We all know what they say about “too much of a good thing”…
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