Mark Bittman’s Gastrokid-friendly Pasta Paradigm Shift

Mark Bittman’s recent New York Times story on rethinking proper pasta proportions is a godsend to parents everywhere: parents love pasta for its deliciousness and ease of preparation; kids love pasta for its delciousness; the health-conscious parent loves a new way of rethinking pasta. Which is what the story is really about. As Bittman writes: “Instead of a pound of pasta for two to four people, make a half, or even a third of a pound. Instead of a cup or two of sauce, make it four cups, or more. Turn the proportions around.
What do you wind up with? Pasta more or less overwhelmed by sauce, which you can view as a cardinal sin or as a moist, flavorful one-dish meal of vegetables with the distinctive, lovable chewiness of pasta.”

It’s that simple. He’s got some great recipes too (pasta with chickpeas, chorizo and breadcrumbs, green beans and tofu skins with rice sticks, pasta with winter squash and tomatoes). To which we might add our own variations: sauteed broccoli and goat cheese with rigatoni; sage and squash with penne and brown butter; roasted cauliflower, toasted pine nuts, and parsley; bacon, oven roasted tomatoes, thyme, and farfalle; etc etc etc. And while Bittman was turning the pasta ratios on their head, we were doing similar stuff in the gastrokid kitchens, which we’ll share with you next week. Gastrokid social networkers: we’ve started a discussion group, which we’d love for you to chime in on. If you haven’t joined our social network already, please do and give us your saucy thoughts and swap recipes and tips with other families.
—Hugh

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2 Responses to Mark Bittman’s Gastrokid-friendly Pasta Paradigm Shift

  1. Ecomamma says:

    Hi, I am a cuban/italian mom and I learned to love pasta and how to cook it in thousands different ways… but I’m a little “scared” by the idea of drowning the poor pasta in too much salsa. Proportions exist and they are important! What about just eat less?

  2. I started practicing this approach a few years ago and it changed my whole way of eating. The principle leaked out from the pasta bowl (half the pasta, double the veggies) to the whole plate and suddenly, it felt strange to have a piece of chicken or meat taking up most of the plate rather than veggies.
    Another bit . . . I just “discovered” Barilla Plus pasta at a conference at CIA Greystone and love it. It’s whole wheat flour mixed with another multi-grain flour and doesn’t have any of that gummy texture that most whole wheat pasta have–just a nice, nutty flavor. I wasn’t all that hot on serving my daughter (one year) pasta, since it really it really isn’t the healthiest thing, but this Barilla Plus makes me feel much better about it, and she loves the corkscrew shape.
    Great blog! Glad I found you!

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