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Food: Desperately Seeking Spaghetti #2 – Results

December 3, 2011

Ok, we’re back for the details and results of my alternative pasta experiment. Are you excited? I know I am.

For my taste test, I cooked each pasta (including regular pasta as a control) in salted water according to the package directions for al dente. Quinoa pasta took the longest – over 10 minutes, while Spelt was by far the quickest- 3 minutes was almost too long. The rest fell between 6-9 minutes, normal pasta cooking time.

First, I chewed on each noodle plain – no sauce, no butter – to get the true flavor and texture of the noodle. Next, I added some basic marinara sauce to each to see if that changed how I felt about them.

Plain:
Corn – Tastes like corn (surprise!). Most similar texture to the regular pasta, a nice soft, smooth noodle.
Quinoa – Bright yellow color, similar taste to regular pasta but still a hint of corn/rice flavor. Texture was tough, even when cooked for over 10 minutes.
Spelt -Very soft, smoothest texture of any noodle (including control group). Very delicate flavor, similar to Japanese rice noodles, almost sweet.
Whole Wheat – Distinct oatmeal flavor, very grainy texture.
Brown Rice – Slightly grainy texture (but much less so than Whole Wheat), slightly grayish color, but taste was very similar to regular pasta.

With Marinara Sauce:
Corn – Still corny.
Quinoa – Sauce actually seemed to bring out the corn/rice flavor in the noodle. Texture still off-putting.
Spelt – Flavor of noodle so delicate that it is completely masked by the sauce, but texture is still good. This noodle would be great in soups or with very light sauces.
Whole Wheat – The oatmeal flavor is well-hidden by the sauce, but the texture is still too grainy for everyday use.
Brown Rice – With the sauce, this noodle is almost identical to regular pasta.

In the end, I can’t say I hated any of the pastas, but the only two that I’d eat on a regular basis were the Brown Rice and the Vita Spelt. I’ve already purchased some different shapes of Brown Rice pasta, but I have also thrown out all traces of the Corn and Quinoa pasta. I don’t mind Whole Wheat pasta, it just has to be served with a very hearty sauce or vegetables, something that can stand up to the texture.

And no, I will not be giving up Semolina pasta, ever. But putting the other noodles in rotation makes me feel like I’m being more committed to my health. And, it just means I get to eat more noodles.

Voila.

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