Posted in Pasta

Location, Location, Location

This axiom—location, location, location works in so many segments of our life. From the value of your home, to your vacation choices and even where you do business, location is an important factor. Participating in the Belleville Farmers Market on Saturdays certainly exemplifies the location axiom. Not just a great place to sell our products and also a magnificent source for the produce used in making many of Grandma’s Fresh Pasta, it also has provided us with the opportunity to meet a lot of friendly neighbours and learn so much about our community.

Much of the produce such as locally grown beets, peppers and spinach are used in the manufacturing of our fresh pastas. This healthy produce is purchased from the other vendors while we are there on Saturdays and processed in our kitchen during the week so that our pasta is truly farm-to-table fresh.

These Farmers also provide valuable information as to the best methods to prepare, cook and save their produce for use in a variety of other menu items.

We not only obtain great produce and advice from our fellow vendors, but many times we are able to refer our customers back to these same vendors for items that will help enhance their dinners with sauces, mushrooms, tomatoes and many more food items that will enhance our pasta and help finish their dinner to perfection. So no matter what your taste in food is, we are sure that you will find everything needed to create great meals at the Belleville Farmers Market!!

Why not stop in at the market and meet some wonderful people and make some great friends?   We encourage you to visit our recipe page to try a fast (15 min) pasta dish that contains only local items. It even includes dessert!

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For more information or to join the Friends of the Belleville Farmers Market, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/120027456857/

Photos by: https://www.facebook.com/antonina.durham?fref=nf

 

 

 

Posted in Pasta

OMG! Chocolate Pasta

 

choc pasta

Lets face it, pasta is created equal! Whether it’s in little cork screws, raviolis or long thin noodles it is all basically flour and water. Some types of flour are different and some regions of the world have created unique shapes and sauces to compliment the pasta. Pasta such as Grandma’s has fresh vegetables for both colour and flavour. With some shapes of pasta the sauce will adhere better than others, such as tomato sauce sticks to rotini better than spaghetti due to the rough edges of the rotini.

What we are now discussing is a seldom thought of version of pasta, Chocolate! That’s right, pasta for a savory dish or a scrumptious dessert. From Chocolate Fettuccine with Peas and Pancetta to Chocolate Fettuccine with fresh fruit and whipped cream, chocoholics can have it all. Yum, Yum!

I have done a tonne of research on the subject and I have yet to discover what genius decided that this was a good idea. Was it a man or a women? Probably a woman who obviously had a very serious sweet tooth. Was it made first in the mid-east or in Italy? Who knows the answer to these riddles? I just know that we love it!

My all time favorite dessert or snack is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in any shape, size or form. From Reese’s Pieces to ice cream, Chocolate and Peanut Butter hits all of my high notes! Well I found a recipe for Chocolate Pasta with Peanut Butter Suace that I want to share. http://recipes.ilovepeanutbutter.com/chocolate-pasta-with-peanut-butter-sauce/ We have the pasta, all you need is the creativity and an urge for chocolate.

See you next week and, “Bon appetite”.

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Posted in Pasta, Uncategorized

Cooking your pasta with love

Many people ask us how to cook Grandma’s dried pasta. The way pasta is cooked also affects its healthiness. For the healthiest and tastiest way, you want to cook the pasta al dente, which means “to the tooth” or “to the bite.” So to make your pasta healthy and delicious here are our recommendations.

Use a large pot: Size matters. The pasta should be submerged in a sea of water because it will expand while cooking. If there is not enough water than the pasta will get mushy and sticky. Your pot should be filled about 3/4 of the way or about 4-5 quarts with water for 1 pound of pasta. One of Grandma’s bags of pasta weighs 150 grams or approx. 5 oz.

Fill the pot with cold water: This goes for cooking anything with water. Always use cold water from the tap and run the water for a little before using. Do not add pasta until water is vigorously boiling.

Heavily salt the water: Adding salt to the water is strictly for flavor. You want to salt the water as it is coming to a boil. While the pasta is cooking, it absorbs the salt adding just that extra touch to the overall meal. Do as Mario Batali does and salt the water until it “tastes like the sea.” To get that saltiness, Mark Ladner, executive chef at Del Posto, advises to use about 1 tbsp. of salt per quart of water.

Do not put oil in the pot: “Do not — I repeat, do not — add oil to your pasta cooking water! And that’s an order!” When you drain the pasta the oil floating on the top of the water will stick to the pasta and cause the taste to be oily when eating. The Sauce won’t adhere to the pasta as well.

Cook, Time & Test:  Yes, you can follow the timing on the package of pasta. But, the best timer is your mouth. Start tasting the pasta at 15-20 second intervals, from a minute or two before you think the pasta might be ready. As stated above, pasta should be cooked al dente.

The way you drain the pasta can also affect the flavor and texture. If cooking long pasta such as Grandma’s Fettuccini try using tongs or a pasta fork to transfer the pasta from the water to the sauce. You want to marry the sauce and the pasta as quickly as possibly.

That’s it folks! Use this guide to cook your favorite flavour of Grandma’s Fresh Pasta each and every time!

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Posted in Pasta

Gluten-Free Dieting May Hamper your Health

There are many myths surrounding the benefits of a gluten-free diet that have people convinced they need to remove gluten to lose weight, feel better and even look better. The fact is, science has proven this is not the case unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease or a true sensitivity to gluten.

Dispelling Gluten-Free Myths

Largely due to propaganda surrounding the benefits of gluten-free living, more than 30-percent of the population believes they have to remove gluten from their diets in order to be healthy and lose weight. In reality, only about one-percent of the population suffers from celiac disease and has to avoid this protein that is found in breads, pasta, processed foods and cereals.

You may have read testimonials online or heard from friends who have been successful at losing weight and feeling healthier once they adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. That could well be true, but what you may not know is this not caused by removing gluten from their diets; it is because they are being more careful about what they eat in general.

People who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease or a true gluten sensitivity benefit from their new lifestyles because they are not eating as many processed foods, sugary items and have cut out breads, pastas and cereals. These are generally people who do not eat a balanced diet and overindulge on sweets, high carbohydrate foods and highly processed foods. Removing these items from their diets forces a healthier style of eating which is beneficial to their current conditions.

How Removing Gluten can be an Unhealthy Choice

When you remove all gluten sources from your diet, you run the risk of deficiencies in fiber intake, vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health. Since most gluten-free products have been cleansed of nutrients, you may develop deficiencies of:

  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Thiamine
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous

That list is quite substantial and these nutrients are considered beneficial against heart disease, Type-2 Diabetes and even some forms of cancer.

Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to follow a gluten-free diet, you may be causing your body unnecessary harm and avoiding foods that are not just tasty, but helpful for maintaining optimal health. As with most things, the key to healthy living is moderation.

Treat yourself to a healthier and heartier version of pasta from Grandma’s Fresh Pasta. Several varieties are available with added vegetables or whole wheat varieties.

For more info you can read this blog too!  Gluten Free?

Posted in Pasta

Grandma’s Fettuccine Pasta

Grandma’s Fresh Pasta is considered the fettuccine type pasta and is great for both hot meals and salads. Pasta is generally a simple dish, but comes in many varieties due to its versatility. Some pasta dishes are served as a first course in Italy because the portion sizes are small and simple. Pasta is also prepared in light lunches, such as salads or large portion sizes for dinner.

Fettuccine Alfredo is actually a sauce that is added to the fettuccine after cooking. Originally, simply made with only butter and Parmesan cheese it is now sold in stores as a pasta dressing and is made with eggs, cheese, cream and often sour cream. Here is a brief history about Alfredo;

“Everything began in a small restaurant when his wife Ines, in 1908, gave birth to their firstborn. After the birth of Armando (Alfredo II), her husband, concerned for her health, did everything to make her regain strength with healthy and nutrients foods. With his own hands, he prepared noodles mixed with butter and fresh Parmesan. Then he prayed St. Anna (protector of pregnant women) and served the dish to Ines saying: “If you don’t like such dish, I will eat it.” The contemporaneous birth of both Alfredo II and the “blondes”, that he lovingly used to call fettuccine, are the strength of his worldwide reputation. His tireless work together with his great enthusiasm, favored the attraction of customers from all over the world. The idea of the dish (fettuccine) was born and then became famous all around the world”.

To this day the restaurant is still open in Rome and ran by the same family; http://www.ilveroalfredo.it/en/history/

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John Wayne at the restaurant.

 

 

 

Posted in Pasta

5 Reasons to Keep Healthy Carbohydrates in your Diet

Largely due to the diets that took the world by storm, such as South Beach and Atkins, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap with people trying to slim down. The fact is, your body needs a healthy amount of carbohydrates in order to function at its best and keep your metabolism churning. The following are five reasons not to kick out pasta and other complex carbohydrates completely out of your diet.

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1. Carbohydrates Fuel your Body

Just as your vehicle will not run without gas, your body does not function optimally without carbohydrates. Your body naturally converts carbs into glucose (a form of sugar) that is used to fuel your brain, muscles and other cells. While your body can rely on the other macronutrients found in food, namely protein and fats, carbs are the best energy source.

2. Cutting Carbs can lead to Increased Disease Risk

Healthy carbohydrates found in whole grains, pulses, starchy fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions such as heart problems, colon cancer and more. Complex carbohydrates found in foods such as pasta, skin-on potatoes, starchy vegetables and other whole grains are high in fiber which contributes to a healthy digestive system and can lead to lower levels of bad cholesterol. Studies have shown most people get less than 60-percent of the recommended daily amounts of fiber.

3. Homemade Pasta can help you Lose Weight

In moderations, starchy foods made with whole grains, such as homemade pasta, fill you up faster than high calorie foods containing fats. Combining a reasonable portion of pasta with a variety of vegetables and a lean protein will keep you fuller longer and for less calories than many other food choices. As an added bonus, you feel more satisfied because you are not denying yourself food you enjoy in order to lose weight.

4. Feel Happier and Sleep Better

You may remember hearing that tryptophan is responsible for the sleepy feeling most of us get when we overindulge in a big turkey dinner. Tryptophan is required by your body to produce serotonin, which is responsible for making you feel happier and sleep better. Insufficient serotonin can lead to depression, restlessness and anxiety problems. Since carbohydrates contain tryptophan, including them as part of your well-balanced diet can make you happier.

5. Carbs are Brain Food

Glucose is what feeds your brain and fuels your neurotransmitters, which contributes to clear thinking, better memory and improved overall health. Since glucose is found in carbohydrates, maintaining a healthy intake of carbs provides your brain the fuel it needs to run its best.

The key to fueling your body and keeping it in its best shape is to remember that a balanced diet with moderated portions is the best method. Just as you would not try to run your car on a type of fuel it was not made to burn, you should not deprive your body of necessary components it needs to create optimal fuel. Check out Grandma’s Pasta to see the variety of homemade pastas including vegetables and whole grains to fuel your body. Eating healthy can taste great!

Posted in Pasta, Recipes

How Pasta Became a Staple in our Homes

In fact, while Italians can surely be credited for making pasta the household staple it is today, countries you would never guess played a big part in its creation.

Historical Debate over the Origin of Pasta

While tales about pasta’s origins abound, the one thing historians agree on is that Marco Polo did not introduce pasta to Italy in 1729 after a trip to China. Documentation shows that pasta was already a thriving commodity traded in Cagliari, Sardinia since around 800 A.D. From other various documents dating back hundreds of years before Marco Polo’s fateful trip to Italy with rice noodles, pasta made with grains that are more traditional have been traced back to Africa and Arabic countries.

A traditional tale told in Italy speaks of a woman from a peasant background who created ravioli and lasagna, but alas, this has also been proven false by historical documents. Surprisingly, Arabic countries created stuffed pastas, a documented fact dating all the way back to the 11th century. At that time, pasta that closely resembled the homemade ravioli you enjoy today included chicken as a filling, cooked with pine nuts and served with a yogurt sauce.

Dried Pasta versus Fresh

Today, dried pasta is the most common way to extend its shelf life and with homemade pasta that is egg-based, the only way to safely store it without refrigeration. At one time however, Italians considered dried pasta to be spoiled and often, only the most poor would cook with it, putting it into soups or casserole-style dishes to stretch their food supply. Rather than being the household staple it is today for Canadians, pasta was a dish only the wealthy could afford when it made its earliest appearance in Italy.

The Arabs can be credited for teaching Sicilians to dry pasta and once they started, they became the major trader of dried pasta in the 12th century. It is for this reason that the western world attributes this favourite comfort food to Italians. Italians may not have invented pasta, but they are responsible for making it a popular product traded throughout the world that became a staple in our homes.

For a variety of homemade fresh pasta made with all natural ingredients, contact Grandma’s Fresh Pasta.