Pasta Lovers - Pay Attention
Personally, I've never tasted a whole wheat pasta I really enjoyed; a great failing in one who promotes healthy eating and higher fiber diets. A compromise is using Mueller's Essentials, which is higher in fiber than regular pasta. They don't have all types, however, and I'm looking forward to the day they do. In addition to not favoring the taste, whole wheat pasta must be used immediately or refrigerated to avoid rancidity, a disadvantage for someone who believes in a stocked pantry.
Bugs love pasta too. They gleefully spread from one package to another. Package your pasta in a plastic containers as soon as you bring it in from the grocery. If later on you find a bug or two in your dry pasta, you can conserve it by storing it in the freezer for a couple of days. Stops the little vermin dead in their tracks! Pasta, free from pests, that is well sealed and kept in a reasonably cool place should last for up to two years. It's an excellent item to stock up on for emergency meals or short budget times when you want to cut the grocery bill.
I have made pasta from scratch, but not for some years. It's the best! But packaged pasta is great too, and so handy to use when time is short. Pasta can be a vehicle for fats, calories and cholesterol, or for healthy veggies and lower-fat sauces. It's your choice! Well seasoned pasta can be a vehicle in which to hide lots of healthy ingredients.
A word of warning: next time you consider buying a "cup of instant noodle soup" or a handy package of instant Ramen noodles, look at the fat content. Big surprise!!! This is not a heart-healthy choice.
Where did pasta come from? That's a good question. The story of Marco Polo bringing it back from China is simply a fable. Pasta in some form was probably invented back soon after the dawn of civilization soon after wheat began to be cultivated, and was eaten by several cultures including ancient Greek and Arabic peoples. See History of Pasta.
Puzzled about types of pasta? Here's some guides:
Read about the sensuous joy of making pasta at In Season: Pasta! by Linda Brandt Tanner.
Everyone has their own favorite way of cooking the pasta. I learned early how NOT to do it (see A Kinder, Gentler Kitchen). While most people prefer to simply boil pasta that is going to be covered in hot sauce, I take it an extra step in Perfect Pasta. A more economical way to make it (and less likely to have a disaster if you have a short attention span) is to use a lot of water. Add salt as recommended, and a small glug of oil. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and stir occasionally until it boils again. Cap tightly. After about a minute of boiling, turn the pan off. Don't lift the cover for at least 20 minutes! Voila! Less fuel, no danger of scorching, nor will you overcook it to mush (I only say this because I've done it).
Here's some of my favorite pasta recipes: