Episode 38: Why Pasta Is a Family Cook's Best Friend
On some level, we all know it: Pasta is a kitchen hero. But have you grasped the many reasons why that’s so? Or how to put it to best use no matter what the circumstance? Or how to cook it perfectly (which is key, if you ask us)?
In this episode, we share ALL the pasta tips, recipes, and ideas, from ones that will help you have more fun in the kitchen with your kids to others that will get you out of the kitchen faster. Because pasta can do both, and so much more too.
Oh, the Pastabilities!
No matter the cut, pasta can help give dinner shape
There are a small handful of ingredients that you can find in nearly every pantry across the country and can be turned into a meal under nearly any circumstance — and pasta is one of them. No matter the cut, pasta can help dinner take shape on any budget, for any diet (even gluten-free!), with any other ingredients you have on hand, and in any amount of time you have to spare, whether 15 minutes or 1 hour. And that’s not even the best part!
What really makes pasta a lifesaver for the busy family cook is that you’ll be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn’t love it in some form.
Pasta is pretty much a wonder ingredient.
Given how useful pasta is, we figured it was time to do a deep dive on the stuff, starting with how to cook it properly. Because doesn’t all good food start with that?
Don’t worry: We’re not trying to hone your culinary school chops. No hard and fast rules about how to cook pasta or which cuts go with which sauces here. Rather, we share guidelines for how to give even the most humble weeknight pasta the perfect texture and a just-right clingy coating of sauce.
Once you know how to cook pasta, it’s important to know what to do with it. In this episode, we:
share our favorite sauces and recipes
reveal the trick for how to make a silky sauce that clings just enough
go over brands you can trust
discuss the merits of fresh packaged versus dried pasta (we’ve figure out how to make refrigerated gnocchi useful and delicious)
share ideas for how to use pasta to introduce kids (even picky ones) to new foods
Want to dig deeper? If you’re looking to cook the recipes we mention and learn more about the things we reference, here’s your chance:
How to Pre-Cook Pasta Perfectly (no soggy pasta here!)
The only jarred tomato sauce Stacie buys; it’s super pricey, which is why she keeps it for desperation meals, but Bon Appetit , The Kitchn, and Jenny Rosenstratch at Cup of Jo all agree that it’s THE one.
Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Stop Feeding Problems, and Expand You Child's Diet, a book we talk more about in our episode Is Picky Eating Real?
Stacie’s favorite flavored oils, perfect for dressing pasta
Set of 3 spider strainers (feel free to search for “spider strainer” on Amazon for many more options)
Meghan’s favorite Sherry vinegar
We want to hear from you!
We know you love pasta, but WHY? It takes a village, so we want to hear from you: What are your favorite pasta recipes? What about your kids? And do you have tips for how to use, make, or cook pasta in a way that makes life for the family cook easier or more delicious? Chime in on this week’s conversation on Facebook!
Best Pasta Recipes
From cheese sauces to vegan pastas, we’ve got you covered
We’re no fools! We know that, at the end of the day, you listened to this episode because you want the recipes. So we’re serving them up!
Stacie’s Brown Buttered Cauliflower Pasta (both this recipe and Alison’s above give directions on making flavored breadcrumbs that you can use to top other pastas, as well)
An All-Purpose Peanut Sauce perfect for dressing noodles
Buttered Pasta for Children (which you can adapt, and we think is good for eaters of all ages!)
Follow us on Instagram
You can be sure that the conversation will be hopping on our social this week… because PASTA! Who doesn’t want to talk about that? And clearly there’s SO MUCH TO talk about, so be sure to find us on Instagram: