Os animais de alfândega-Tagliata

We are creatures of habit and sometimes we have a hard time changing them. Being such we tend to resort to using the same tried and tested products for our everyday meals. Normally we prepare recipes with the ingredients that are best known to us, and that sit most comfortably on our palates.  
 I acknowledge this fact as not all bad and that in some part it has its logic. Because there is something we like, then why the need to change it? On the other hand, if we spend a little more time to observe and question whats on the supermarket shelf, we might find that we can take what we cook to another level. But is this staying within our comfort zone or just a lack of risk taking? Innovation by trying new products allows us to expand our range of tastes and gastronomy in general.
`People are gradually getting more adventurous, but traditional options are still by far the most popular´
                 Emma Weinbren, the Grocer
Take for example our choice of pastas or noodles.Most domestic store cupboards are limited to the bog standard favourites, Spaghetti,lasagne, penne,macaroni and sometimes pappardelle. Though there are hundreds of different types of noodles, pasta can be organized into different groups. Cooks use different shapes and sizes of pasta for different purposes. For example, different shapes hold different sauces better than others.
 tagliata pasta
Pappardelle pairs beautifully with heavy rich sauces. Tubes and hollow shaped pasta,penne,(“Quills” or “Feathers”) rigatoni,are shorter. Ground meat sauces like Bolognese, or hearty meat and vegetable sauces are perfect for these.  Their thicker texture also makes them perfect for baking with cheese.(Penne Arrabiata and Mac and Cheese.) Soup pastas (orzo, ditalini, acini di pepe), stuffed (tortellini, ravioli) and special shapes (farfalle, fusilli).. 
One thing that varies is how much of the sauce adheres to the pasta, especially for pasta shapes that have ridges or hollow areas. Sometimes you'll have a sauce where you'll want chunks of it to stick to the pasta, and sometimes you just want the pasta to be flavoured by the sauce, but eaten more by itself. My rule of thumb usually is
"Chunkier the sauce, shorter the pasta. Smoother   the sauce, longer the pasta."
Over the years I have introduced myself to some these more unusual pastas and shapes...
Acini di Pepe
Sometimes referred to as pastina, acini di pepe means “peppercorn” in Italian, alluding to its miniscule size and rounded shape, which makes it versatile enough to be welcome in a wide range of dishes. Make it the mainstay of a cold salad or sprinkle it into a piping hot soup.
FideosIf you think pasta belongs only to the Italians and noodles to the Asians, think again. In Spain, pasta talks Spanish and the word is fideos (fee-DAY-ohs). Fideos (fideus in Catalan) are thin, round noodles, the sort you might put in chicken-noodle soup. They range in thickness from threads of angel hair to spaghetti-like cords. Fideos go into soups, casseroles and,surprise surprise, even paella.Instead of being cooked in a pot of boiling water, then being sauced, the fideos cook right in the sauce, soaking up the flavors. And "al dente" is not a Spanish approach! Fideos are cooked until completely tender and toothsome.
Italian for “little ears,” orecchiette are shaped like pasta bowls, rendering them perfect for collecting sauce. This pasta goes well with heavier sauces rife with meats or veggies, as with this recipe for , orecchiette com cime di rapa, as their shape is perfect for catching both. 

Tagliata with mushrooms and bacon
The recipe that I made here was with tagliata (see picture above), a departure from the more well-known types of pasta: noodles, macaroni, feathers, or spaghetti. The tagliata pasta has a curious shape( the Italian word literally means cut ) so it is a shortened version of tagliatelle and cooking it with an al dente texture, allows the appreciation of an exquisite texture and flavour.I love my bacon. I love my mushrooms. I love my garlic, and  I love my cheese.
Put them together with my favourite carb, and you have a meal I could eat day in day out. I might have put in a wee extra clove of garlic, but I do love my garlic. So, if you can handle it, I recommend doing the same.
Whipping cream,about 200ml
Chestnut mushrooms

Bacon lardons or small cubes of bacon
Dried chilli flakes

Grated cheese of your choice

Heat some oil and butter in  a pan. Add the onion, garlic, chopped. once it begins to change colour add the bacon and dried chilli flakes.Sauté well and reserve.
In the same pan you used to sauté the onion and the bacon, add some extra butter and cook the mushrooms.When the mushrooms start to release their juices then add the cream.Agitate everything well, then return the refogado /sofrito that had been reserved to the pan.Stir again to amagamate everything.Add the pre-cooked pasta and coat well with the sauce.Add the cheese of your choice, I used parmesan.Let rest for a minute then serve.


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