Pasta & Rice – Staples of the Kitchen

1 Mar

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Pasta and rice are staple foods, known around the world as an invaluable ingredient to satisfy and energize the body.  At my house, pasta and rice are more than go-to entrees or sides – they’re a mandatory carbohydrate fix necessary at least 2 to 3 times a week.  Problem is, most people hit the pasta and rice isle at the local grocery store and have no idea as to the endless possibilities that lie ahead.  Lets take a look at some staples of the staples:

PASTA, in reasonable portions is not really very high in calories.  For example a 2 oz. pasta portion is about 200 calories.

DURUM SEMONILA SPAGHETTI – An Italian classic, made from a high-gluten and protein wheat, called durum.

SOBA NOODLES – A thin Japanese noodle bade with buckwheat, which isn’t really wheat, it’s blended with wheat, so not really gluten-free.

WHOLE WHEAT SPAGHETTI – Nutty and slightly sweet in flavor, and has a chewy texture.  Tops in fiber, this pasta counts as a whole-grain serving.

UDON NOODLES – A thick Japanese wheat noodle that pairs well with a rich Chicken broth.

RICE, is commercially classified by size along with the two main types of brown and white. White rice is milled and brown rice is unmilled.  Brown rice is considered to be more nutritious and higher in fiber.

BROWN – Light brown color whole grain, with a chewy, nutty texture used in Pilaf or salads.

WHITE – A polished white grain with mild flavor, available in short, medium or long grain, for Pilaf, salads or rice pudding.

BASMATI – Extra long grain, fine and delicate texture that is aromatic and nutty.  It’s aged to reduce moisture content and is available in brown or white.  Great in salads or as pilaf.

JASMINE – Long, white grain aromatic and delicate flavor for pilaf, steaming or rice pudding.

ARBORIO – Very short and fat grain with high starch content that is creamy when cooked, used mainly in risotto.

WILD – March grass, unrelated to regular rice, with a long and thin grain that is dark brown with a chewy, nutty flavor.

Here is one of my favorite simple recipes – YUM!

Mushroom Risotto

2 T. olive oil

1/4 # shitake mushrooms stemmed and sliced

¼ onion peeled and fine diced

½ cup aborio rice

3 cups warm chicken stock

1 T. butter

2 T grated parmesan

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat add olive oil and aborio rice. Stir the rice until it is coated with olive oil. Slowly add some of the hot stock (just enough to cover) into the rice. Stir often with a wooden spoon until the stock soaks into the rice. Repeat process several times until the rice gets very creamy and becomes al dente. The whole process will take 25 to 30 minutes. Finish with whole butter and parmesan cheese.

Great with steak fresh off the grill!

 

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