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Whole Wheat Pasta

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Gang,

What have you found to be the best or most acceptable whole wheat pasta?

Thanks in advance for your opinions and experiences,

Shel
post #2 of 19
I'll let you know after I cook some of the Ronzoni "Healthy Harvest" I just bought. ;)
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I recall that one of the magazines, maybe Cooks Illustrated, said that it was the best of the ones they tried. I was thinking of trying it myself, but it's a ten mile drive to the nearest store that I know of that carries it. I'm looking forward to your comments.

Shel
post #4 of 19
The Washington Post had an article on the different types of whole wheat pasta and they did a blind taste test. I don't think it was too long ago. I'll see if I can dig up the article for you. I can't get into the whole wheat though, it leaves a funny taste in my mouth.

EDIT: found it. Try Whole Wheat Pasta is an Acquired Taste. They list the brands and description on the 2nd page.
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"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." -Dave Barry
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post #5 of 19
i'm all for whole foods, but pasta, well, count me out. I've never tasted any that didn;t taste of sawdust. There's something about the texture of pasta that "exalts" the grittiness of bran.
however, there is a traditional kind of pasta, called Pizzoccheri, which are i believe made of buckwheat, and are flat and thick, like fettuccine, and which are eaten with a vegetable sauce, cabbage etc. This is quite good, probably because it's not trying to be pasta but is what it is.
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 19
The strongly negative comments about Hodgson Mill in the article conflict a bit with my own reaction to it. Possibly this is because I rarely eat pasta these days (watching my blood glucose levels). I can eat a bit more of the HM product because it has more fiber and doesn't seem to slam my blood glucose levels as harshly. Truly I wouldn't choose it if I could eat anything I want- but it'll do the trick in a pinch. I sprinkle some of the whole wheat shells into my homemade vegetable soups and enjoy it that way.
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post #7 of 19

Ugh!!

I can understand using whole wheat pasta for health reasons, because of a particular illness and not based upon some health trend, but it is IMHO quite terrible and otherwise unworthy of consideration as a part of any recipe or menu I might create.
post #8 of 19
I've tried lots of different wholewheat pastas - and the ONLY one that is just about acceptable to my family is De Cecco - but only the spaghetti. Don't know if De Cecco is available wherever you live, it's one of the most popular dried pasta manufacturers imported into the UK, along with Barilla.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Over the years I've tried a few WW pastas, and have not been particularly enchanted by them. However, as I've learned more about pairing WW pasta with different sauces, I've learned that it can be an acceptable alternative to regular pasta in some instances. For those who have responded with comments on how bad the WW tastes, and that they'd never use it, well, because of some health issues it seems like something I want to try again, and finding a brand or style that's satisfactory is important to me. So please don't judge or condemn my choice.

That said, it's interesting to note that there is a very wide range of divergent opinions on brands, which I suppose is to be expected, so I'll just have to spend more time experimenting. As Mezzaluna said, I also put some WW orzo or small shells in my vegetable soups - that works very well for me. I also recall seeing an add for a low glycemic index regular pasta which I'd like to try, but I can't find the magazine right now, otherwise I'd post the info here.

KInd regards,

Shel
post #10 of 19
The Ronzoni Healthy Harvest is not a true whole wheat pasta, but a blend of whole wheat and semolina flours. That said, we've found it to be one of the better whole grain pastas available locally.

Most of the 100% whole wheat pastas we have found have been somewhat gritty or crumbly. The few that haven't had tactile problems (like the De Cecco) require either that you adjust your tastes to a new flavor (not necessarily a bad thing) or use them with truly dominating sauces, like a hearty tomato sauce. With more subtle sauces, the flavor of the pasta becomes a significant contributor.

We've also liked Barilla Plus, which is not a whole wheat pasta, but a blend of semolina, legume flours, and whole grain flours (including spelt and barley). If your main interest is to include whole grains and/or lower glycemic load, it is worthy of consideration.

Finally, I should mention the soy-based pastas that have mercifully seemed to disappear from our local grocery shelves. No matter what we did, these products produced rubbery, ill-flavored dishes that no sauce could seem to rescue.
post #11 of 19
i like de cecco - where do you get barilla in the UK?
also i know its not "on topic" but try making gnocchi with sweet potato yummy and lower GI.
post #12 of 19
I don't like sweet potatoes, I'm afraid!

I used to be able to get Barilla at both Sainsbury and Waitrose - but recently they have replaced it with De Cecco and Buitoni - neither or which I like as much as Barilla. I get Barilla pasta in a number of outlets - but my favourite deli sells it in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Valvona and Crolla is probably the UK's BEST Italian deli,bar none. Read and drool...


Ooops, I STILL haven't made the regulatory 15 posts to allow me to post URLs.... I'll have to see how many I've posted and then add a couple to this thread in order to give you the URL!:roll:
post #13 of 19

Adding posts in order to be allowed to post URLs!

No message!
post #14 of 19
Here's the URL for Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh

http://www.valvonacrolla.co.uk/
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
The low GI pasta I mentioned in an earlier post is Dreamfields. I've not tried it and can't comment on it. However, if you're looking for a low GI pasta, you can find out more about the product here:

http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com/

If you have tried it, perhaps you can post your opinion of it.

Thanks,

Shel
post #16 of 19
Dreamfields isn't bad, but I recommend taking a few Beano with it- it's got enough fiber to have that effect.
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post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Gang,

As it turns out, and not unsurprising, there are numerous WW pasta brands available here - Bionaturae, De Cecco, Trader Joe's, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, Hodgsen Mills, Barilla, Eden,and several others. Today I purchased a pound of Bionaturae Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli and had it with a "tweaked" Italian tomatoe sauce, one to which I added sausage, pancetta, mushrooms, onions, and a splash or Merlot to deglaze the sautéed meat.

The bottom line is that I was quite satisfied with the taste and texture of the pasta. It had a nice "bite" to it, wasn't at all sticky, and the flavor was not at all overpowering and blended nicely with the sauce choice.

I'll try other brands with other sauces later. So far, I'm pleased, and, best of all, I didn't feel that "spike" I get when eating a nice-sized plate of regular pasta.

Shel
post #18 of 19
Okay: I made the Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini the other night, and served it with a tomato sauce with olives, fennel, and a little sausage. Stood up to the strong flavors nicely, with a bit of whole-wheat nuttiness. I cooked it for the minimum time suggested, and mixed it with the sauce to sit a bit; texture was fine.

The only time I've used Dreamfields was for macaroni and cheese -- so I replaced the carbs with fat! :p It worked all right, but I'm not sure I'd want to eat a plate of it plain. Not much flavor.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #19 of 19
I have tasted every whole wheat pasta that I can find in every store around. All of it, without exception, tastes like stale cardboard. Some with a little salt in the cardboard,other without it.

Not worth my time or my money.

Jim
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