Pasta is a universal staple. Its worldwide appeal stems from its low cost, its ease in preparation, its adaptability and, most importantly, its delicious taste.
Pasta’s potential is virtually without end. Along with various shapes and sizes, there are countless sauces and accompaniments, and the combinations are happily overwhelming. Whether light or hearty, pasta fills the bill. We’ve sampled recipes showcasing this starch, and a mere adjustment in the sauce makes a dramatic caloric difference in the same basic noodle dish.
We worked with premade pasta products in the Restaurant Business Test Kitchen. They are exciting and innovative. Many come in fresh frozen form, several of which we sampled: lasagna (traditional and vegetable styles), tortellini, fettuccine, linguini, ravioli, cannelloni, and manicotti. Some are sold presauced while others let the chef do the honors. The frozen products are excellent in quality, allowing any menu planner to add pasta with ease to the existing repertoire.
To help you along with your pasta fare, there are a wide variety of prepared sauces. Two we enjoy working with are premade and freeze-dried pestos. But there are so many others. Don’t be afraid to find them and experiment. Incidentally, these convenience foods sacrifice no quality but add zip to the plain noodle. And, just as you can dress up any basic recipe with the addition of wines, cream, or fresh vegetables or meats, you can also experiment with a premade product in order to produce a rich, sophisticated signature combination, be it light or hearty.