by Kevin Burton
World Pasta Day was yesterday. Sorry I didn’t warn you ahead of time, but that was not my only pasta failure.
I prepared a contribution to the celebration but it left quite a bit to be desired. It did taste better on day two then when I first made it. We’ll get back to that later.
First, let’s give pasta its due, per the National Day Calendar, which wrote about the celebration on its website.
“October 25 marks World Pasta Day. The day celebrates one of the world’s favorite and most versatile foods,” the website reads.
“Chances are, you eat it several times a week. But what exactly is pasta? This carbohydrate-rich food is made from unleavened dough that comes from durum wheat flour. The flour is mixed with water or eggs and then formed into sheets. Pasta is cooked by either boiling or baking.”
“One of the most amazing things about pasta is that there are over 350 kinds,” the website reads. “Some of the most well-known types of pasta include: Spaghetti, Penne, Rigatoni, Fettucine, Linguine, Orzo, Ravioli, Ziti, Tortellini, Lasagna, and Macaroni.”
“These types of pasta and many others, are used in a variety of recipes. Many put pasta in their soups and salads. Others use pasta in casseroles. When eaten alone, pasta is usually topped with different cheeses and sauces. Pasta can be eaten in so many different ways.”
“The word pasta actually translates to paste in Italian. Despite this fact, pasta may actually have its roots in China instead of Italy. Food historians believe modern-day pasta came from ancient Asian noodles. Some believe that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China. This probably isn’t true. It is unclear how pasta reached Europe from Asia,” the website reads.
“When pasta reached the Mediterranean, durum flour became the wheat of choice. Thanks to pasta’s affordability and long shelf life, it quickly became a staple in Italian culture.”
“It is believed that Spanish explorers brought pasta to America. Thomas Jefferson is credited for making pasta popular in this country. While in Paris from 1784 to 1789, Jefferson ate a lot of macaroni. He thought it was so delicious, he brought two suitcases full of pasta back home with him. Pasta became even more common in the United States when Italian immigrants came here during the late 19th century,” the website reads.
“Every year the International Pasta Organization (IPO) holds a variety of events throughout the world. The goal behind these events is to maximize the promotion of this nutritious and sustainable food. Authoritative experts also discuss the cultural, economic, scientific, and gastronomic aspects of pasta.”
One of the ways the website encourages people to celebrate World Pasta Day is to create a new pasta dish. This I attempted. I didn’t learn anything new in this process, but was reminded that in order the make a great dish, you have to start with great ingredients.
I have a name for the dish, Zedfire. The zed part comes because I used ziti in this dish. The fire comes from the fact that I used cayenne pepper we bought at a little shop we visited on vacation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
But alas, I put more work into naming the dish than creating something good.
The ziti I used were about 1.5 inches long. That didn’t look right in the dish. They need to be cut in half.
I used JC Potter hot sausage as the meat. This I deemed awful at first, then on second taste upgraded to mediocre. It’s not hot at all though, which I predicted. That’s why I added the cayenne pepper. I added canned mushroom pieces.
The pasta sauce I used was Prego, which is my go-t- brand, but needs help from a cook who knows what he or she is doing. There must be some ingredients that would make the sauce pop.
I added shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the finished dish. Maybe that’s the ideal cheese to use, but I didn’t do any testing or research.
I have not found a sausage I like, after Jimmy Dean dumbed down its formula. If I can’t find one, I will go back to good old ground beef in this recipe, but help it along by adding finely chopped peppers of some sort.
My other idea was to get bigger pasta pieces shaped like the ziti and stuff the meat and cheese into them. If you have ideas for me, please feel free to pass them along.
So my effort was lazy. Let’s agree then, that by the time World Pasta Day rolls around next Oct. 25, I’ll have something better.