In Italy, most meals are finished with fresh fruit rather than a desert. The addition of a desert to a meal often marks a special occasion. It stands to reason why Italian desserts are often so indulgent and truly unforgettable…a special occasion deserves a special dessert.
Tiramisu, also known as Tuscan Trifle, literally means “a pick me up”. It’s one of the most popular desserts in Italy as it combines the flavours of espresso and mascarpone cheese. Combined with lady fingers, the desert is light and delicious – the perfect ending to a typical Italian meal.
Two accounts relate to why Tiramisu got it’s name. The first account suggests that the name refers to the two caffeinated ingredients, espresso and cocoa, ingredients guaranteed to give you energy. A second account refers to the fact that the taste is so wonderful, it makes the taster swoon, warranting a need to “pick me up”. Whatever the reason is for the name, the taste has inspired a dedicated following.
In honour of the favourite dessert, on May 25, 2015, the small city of Gemona del Friuli hosted an event to create the world’s largest Tiramisu. Over 200 people and 300 chefs prepared a giant tiramisu using 350 kg of zabaione cream, 750 liters of coffee, 625 kg of mascarpone, 625 kg of cream, 450 kg of savoiardi biscuits, 250 kg of sugar, 25 kg of cocoa and 25 kg of whipped cream. The huge desert weighed 3,015 kg when it was finished. We won’t attempt to recreate this massive tribute, but we will offer you a tempting taste of the delicious dessert as part of our regular menu. Come in and try our delicious tiramisu and you will be reminded of why this dessert deserves the attention it inspires.
At Pasta Pantry, we are fresh pasta addicts.
You can always swing by and buy our fresh homemade pasta as a part of your grocery list, but if you’re cooking store-bought dried pasta at home, here are some suggestions for getting the best results.
Most pasta doubles in volume when it is cooked. It’s not always easy to figure out how much to cook. As a general rule, one pound of pasta will serve six people as an appetizer or four when served as a main course. As a guideline:
– 4 ounces or 1 cup of uncooked pasta such as macaroni, shells, rotini, penne or ziti makes 2 ½ cups of cooked pasta.
– Uncooked pasta such as spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine or linguine in a 4 ounce size or a one inch diameter makes 2 cups of cooked pasta.
Use a Large Pot
To cook pasta properly you need a lot of water. If the pot is too small, the pasta will stick together. For a pound of pasta (16 ounces) you will need a pot that holds 5 or 6 quarts of water. One quart of water should be used for every 4 ounces of pasta.
Plenty of Water
Cold water is best as it contains fewer impurities. Initially cover the pot of cold water to bring to a boil faster and then remove the lid… add salt….about 2 tablespoons of salt per pound of pasta. This may seem like a lot of salt but most of the salt drains off with the water. It’s important to season the pasta and salt also helps to make the surface of the pasta rough so it doesn’t stick. Do not add oil of any kind.
Once you’ve added the pasta into boiling water, stir initially to prevent sticking. Cook uncovered at a fast boil. Most pastas cook in 8 to 12 minutes but it is a good idea to test for doneness after about 4 minutes of cooking. Pasta overcooks quickly so once it has reached the “al dente” stage (pasta should be slightly chewy), remove the pot from the heat, add about 1 cup of cold water which will immediately stop the cooking process. Drain immediately by letting the pasta drain naturally….do not rinse with cold water as it’s the starch in the pasta that allows the sauce to stick to it.
Following these steps will help ensure that your pasta is cooked to perfection. Top it off with your favourite sauce and enjoy. For updates, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
… and other fun facts about our favourite food!
What shape, what sauce?
One of the reasons there are so many different shapes of pasta is that the weight, texture, size and shape of the pasta all contribute to the way it holds the sauce. Certain shapes of pasta are better paired with certain sauces. Creamy sauces such as alfredo cling well to long, flat noodles like fettuccine. Short, tubular shapes pair better with thick, chunky sauces like meat or tomato vegetable.
It’s more than a carb
Pasta contains protein! We often only think of pasta as a carbohydrate, but it also contains protein. One cup of cooked spaghetti can have as many as 8 grams of protein.
The Italian way may be better
Italians eat the most pasta worldwide – about 60 pounds of pasta per person per year. Most Italians eat pasta every day but they keep their portions in check. A portion in Italy is about a cup and the meal includes a small portion of meat and a large portion of vegetables and salad. In Canada we typically serve 3-4 cups of noodles covered in cheese, meat or both.
April Fools’….and spaghetti?
On April 1 in 1957, the BBC made everyone believe that spaghetti grows on trees. At the time, spaghetti was considered to be an exotic delicacy in Britain. A television program explained how severe frost could impair the flavour of spaghetti and how each strand always grows to the same length. This is believed to be one of the first times television was used to stage an April Fools’ hoax. Pasta has since become well known and well loved all over the world …a joke like this would no longer fool anyone.
Pasta can make you happy and healthy
Everyone loves the taste of pasta but did you know that the carbohydrates in it can increase the body’s production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of happiness? Happiness can taste good and it can also be good for you. Pasta is a healthy carbohydrate and a central component of the Mediterranean diet – one of the best lifestyle diets for managing a healthy weight. Keep pasta as part of a healthy diet to ensure physical and emotional well-being.
As we move into the summer months, there’s no shortage of awesome events to check out in and around our community of Sherwood Park. Here’s Pasta Pantry’s top 4 must-do activities to keep you on the go this summer!
Royal Canadian Circus
The circus returns to Edmonton between June 10-12, 2016 at Northlands. Classic big top acts like high wire and trapeze shows. Watch the Motorcycle Globe of Fire and laugh at comical clowns…..a great outing for all ages.
Barr Estate Winery
Located 7 kms south of Sherwood Park, Rick and Amy Barr have used their scientific training to create delicious quality fruit wines. Try The Other Red made from raspberries or The Barb made from rhubarb. Lower temperature fermentation helps retain volatiles and esters which contributes to improved bouquet and fruit flavors in wines. Take a tour of this working sheep farm and view fields of raspberries, rhubarb and sour cherries. Call (780)819-9463 to arrange your tour and wine tasting. Take advantage of their Groupon!
Strathcona Wilderness Centre Play Day
On Tuesday, July 19th between 11 am-2 pm, join free activities at the Centre. Participate in making campfires and fire lighting (weather permitting). Explore tadpoles or craft making with Gallery@501. Make a glow in the dark fairy jar or eat some edible art. The Centre is located at 52535 Range Road 212, Ardrossan.
More details here!
Canada Day Festival
Celebrate Canada Day at Strathcona County’s largest festival. There are lots of free family activities and performances to enjoy. Start the day at 9 am with a free pancake breakfast at the Agora Centre and enjoy the parade which starts at 10 am. Most activities are free but some require tickets or Unlimited Activity Wristbands. Wristbands can be purchased for $5 at the Recreation Administration Office, the Kinsman Leisure Centre, Millennium Place or Festival Place.
More details here!
photo cred: Sherwood Park News
Pasta Pantry is always ready to provide you with delicious menu items. Make your fun filled day complete and let us do the cooking. Don’t forget to keep in touch through Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates.
Gluten Free Cravings 2016
Our gluten free meatballs
The number of people following gluten free diets continues to increase dramatically. As public demand changes, more Sherwood Park restaurants and businesses are meeting the dietary needs of people with sensitivities to wheat and gluten. Gluten Free Cravings is a local event held over the last four years that aims at providing people with the opportunity to find out about local restaurants and suppliers of gluten free products. Last year over 1600 people attended the event and sampled products from over 30 vendors!
The Pasta Pantry gang at last year’s event!
Pasta Pantry is a proud sponsor of the 2016 Gluten Free Cravings event. Come out and sample bite sized morsels from our own menu as well as various items and products offered by restaurants and businesses in the Sherwood Park Area. Learn about what types of food are available and purchase gluten free products to take home. Discount coupons and promotional items are available for those who attend and cooking demonstrations will be offered on the demonstration stage. Gluten Free Cravings is a great way to learn more about options that are available for those who are gluten intolerant or for those just interested in new options and recipes. Admission is free and sample cards can be purchased for $10.
Don’t miss this great event – you do not have to be on a gluten-free diet to enjoy the delicious food that is waiting to be sampled.
June 12, 2016
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Agora Community Centre
41 Festival Lane
Sherwood Park, Alberta