Close Encounters with Pasta Bucatini

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Today is a Saturday and I spent another day experimenting in my kitchen. Yes, with a butane stove. Maybe when I get a bigger kitchen I will get a cooking range but for now, it’s me and my butane stove.

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My experiment today is with a pasta called Bucatini. It is like large hollow tube spaghetti. It takes a long time to cook, around eight (8) minutes, but when it is cooked it goes great with meaty sauces, although some recipe books call for non-tomato based sauces as being the ideal for bucatini. There is more to this innocuous-looking pasta than meets the eye. For starters, why is it hollow? What’s the hole for? Why does pasta come in so many shapes and sizes? Is Italian cuisine all about pasta?

To answer my Italian pasta curiosity, I decided to go by the famous pasta myth; that anything you can eat with rice, you can eat with pasta. To put it to the test, I did just that. I cooked bucatini and made Adobo. When both were cooked, I ate the bucatini with the Adodo. Lo and behold, IT IS TRUE! At least for the Adobo. My bucatini was also good with Bopis and hell, Dinuguan (pork blood stew)! I couldn’t believe my palate. It was even better than downing it with puto, in my opinion.

Why is Bucatini hollow?

I seriously do not know the exact answer. However, in my experience the hollowness of the bucatini allowed it soak up more of the sauce and oil of the Adobo. I also eat it with the regular spaghetti sauce and it turned out to be just as good. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it was difficult twirl around a fork because the bucatini is slightly more rigid than regular spaghetti. This means I get the same amount of sauce on my shirt as that which dribbles from my mouth when I try to stuff my face with a forkful.

Why does pasta come in so many shapes?

Probably because they got so creative and didn’t want to look at the same staple over and over again. There is also another sounder and more logical reason; the sauce. If you prefer light sauces, like those based in olive oil, then the thin pastas are best, such as Aglio Oglio with Angel hair pasta. If you’re into the heavy cream sauces, you would love linguine or fettuccine. For meat sauces, there’s the regular spaghetti but better if you use the bow tie pasta, lasagna or zitti.

Is Italian cuisine all about pasta?

Absolutely not. For those who haven’t really tried Italian cuisine, there is a wealth of Italian dishes NOT REQUIRING pasta. My favorite and the most common in Italian restaurants in the Philippines is Chicken Cacciatore, which we still order with a side of boiled rice. I also love the minestrone (spoken as spelled, not mine-strone English style).

Mind you my Italian cuisine adventures will not end with bucatini and Adobo. In my opinion, chefs who say they can cook Italian and offer you nothing but pasta needs to go back to cooking school. There is so much more to Italian cuisine than just pasta, which can get boring thus the shapes. I am not a chef, nor have I gone to culinary school but because I love to eat I have experimented with recipes I found in the Internet. And I’ve been having such a field day since.

By the way, if you want to try the bucatini I got this one from Robinson’s Supermarket at the Galleria. I’ve never found this elsewhere.

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