Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Goldilocks and the... Italians?

Yeah yeah, I know - it is supposed to be bears. Goldilocks and the Three Bears.Three bears, three bowls of porridge.

One too hot, one too cold, and one juuuusssttt right.

My point is, Goldilocks determined for herself which one was too hot, which one was too cold, and which one was just right.

Just right only makes sense in relationship to her and for her. It was, ethical considerations aside, to be her porridge.

I say this because there is, if not a raging debate, at least a gentlemanly disagreement boiling up over how to prepare and serve pasta.

One school, led by the renowned Italian chef Mario Batali (who has a bearish quality, I'll grant you), says Americans overcook and over sauce their pasta. Batali says pasta is meant to be nearly crunchy in order for the nutlike qualities of the grain to shine. He says to think about saucing the way you'd add condiments to a hot dog or burger. You want to grease up the noodles but there should be no sauce pooling on your plate. Just well dressed pieces of truly "al dente" pasta.

The other school, with the New York Times "Minimalist" columnist and cookbook author Mark Bittman leading the charge, maintains that you ought to try even less pasta with more sauce, to accommodate the lower carb preferences of many Americans. He states if you use wonderful seasonal ingredients to throw together a deliciously healthy vegetable laden sauce you'd be silly to fret over offending Italian sensibilities. Go ahead and throw a bit of pasta in to accentuate your sauce and no worries, says he.

Whether or not another viewpoint is called for I will weigh in with my two cents here.If you are preparing pasta and sauce to share with people you enjoy? There is NO WRONG WAY to do that. Al dente or no, sauce laden or barely coated, if you are wanting to share your gifts in the kitchen with others then you are already on the right track. Decide for yourself what you want to prepare and how you wish to serve it, and forge ahead.

Concerns about the "correct" way to do things are for authorities. If you are happy with how your meal tastes and your friends or family agree? Who could, or even should, argue with that?

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