Raise your hand whoever knows what complex carbohydrates are, what is the glycemic index and how it is calculated, what is the insulin absorption rate in the body and why we should bother with a certain diet. Now raise your hand whoever is curious about all of these. I, for one, am not. There were some who almost fooled me into being curious, but I realized it on time and decided not to live my life according to someone else’s studies, but according to my own observations. Honestly, I’m not interested in the mechanisms through which the body decomposes into micro-details everything I eat, and I’d rather observe what’s good for me and what’s not. I’m sure that Italian grandmothers do exactly the same when cooking for their loved ones and I’m also convinced that most of the households in the Peninsula lack, thank God, a table with the glycemic index of foods hanging from the fridge. Italians have been eating durum wheat pasta far long before they knew what are complex carbs and they seem to be doing alright.
Fewer cancer patients, fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, reduced obesity risks, increased vivaciousness, longevity. All these are facts which are clear to the naked eye, without the need of elaborate studies. You don’t need too much education to understand that this doesn’t originate in books, but in a deeper understanding of the need for a solid basis, and the basis for what some people call “Mediterranean diet” is represented by durum what pasta. Barilla, the number 1 in Italy, not only successfully continues this tradition, but it also shares to the entire world information about a certain way of living and of comprehending food and simplicity. During the last 10 weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to exercise this delicious simplicity by adding the Barilla durum wheat pasta to combinations that weren’t sophisticated, but were incredibly tasty.
If you stick to a few simple healthy eating principles, you can’t go wrong, or at least to can’t go too wrong. Let’s take, for example, this tomato sauce recipe: skinless tomatoes, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt. Low heat, a fork to crush the tomatoes, maybe parsley, perhaps basil at the end of the few minutes needed to cook the sauce in which you put the pasta boiled according to the instructions (there’s a study explaining why it’s better to eat pasta al dente, but I don’t care about that one either, it’s enough for me to see that the Italians have been eating pasta this way for generations and feel good doing so, because basically, we aren’t different in structure, and cultural differences only bring joy to the eye and heart if we’re open minded).
From here on, you can choose countless directions, all simple. One of them is to put the pasta into the sauce, along with two-three tablespoons of the water in which they boiled, and allow them to boil for one minute with the sauce. Add finely chopped hot pepper slices, a few basil leaves, and the first dish is ready.
You can cover the pasta with grated parmesan, generously or otherwise, as you wish.
With or without the glass of wine, the pasta is equally good (I prefer the version with a glass of red wine).
Should you want to approach the sea, before adding the spaghetti, it’s enough to add to the sauce two handfuls of well washed mussels that you clean with the blade of a small knife to remove impurities and sediments. The juice squeezed from half a lemon can do wonders, especially in combination with the parsley. I recommend using it after the mussels have opened (they open pretty fast, in 30-40 seconds if they’re not too many, under a lid).
Living simple is not that complicated :)
People keep asking me about diets, studies and ultra-studies, imagining that I must be good at those things. I’m not, nor am I interested in being good at it. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I make good, honest and simple food, inspired from the cultural heritage of this charming species called HUMAN, things can’t turn out that bad. Italian simplicity has one my heart and even if I can’t reproduce its formulas 1/1 (I’ve never even considered doing that), I consider that I do manage to deliver the essential message, which in this particular case is that it’s better to choose durum what pasta and that it’s better to associate them with simple, quality ingredients, prepared with no sophistication, but with care and with all the heart. Thank you for the opportunity, Barilla, and thank you too for reading me.