An attack on carbs was made a few years ago, and by a doctor no less. Well thanks, but no thanks Dr. Atkins. I gladly stood by carbs’ sides as the hordes of diet-crazed individuals scrammed after the idea of losing a pound or two by avoiding carbs like the plague. Don’t get me wrong, I was not being a nonconformist; it was simply that I could not turn my back on the delicious comfort of carbs.
Finally, the West Coast is once again consumed in a new diet fad, and thankfully, carbs are no longer the culprit placed behind disdainful bars of exclusion. But honestly, even if they go out of style in the dieting world, I will remain a faithful fan.
My love for carbs began in the backdrop of the romantic rolling hills of Italy — well really an old plate from my cupboard, but reality aside, my love began when I ate pasta. Noodles with butter to be exact. It was simply scrumptious, and that is the sign of a good pasta — good pasta doesn’t need robust red sauce (although there is a time and place where this is a pleasant addition). No; pasta at its absolute best can be accompanied by a small amount of butter or oil, and it becomes mouthwatering perfection.
The pasta from a brown cardboard box or clear plastic bag can try to sit in at the dinner table, but once your tastebuds have danced with the delights of fresh, homemade pasta, they can never be fooled again. The head executives of many food companies have fallen upon the secret of homemade pasta, and thus have attempted to bring us one step closer by offering “fresh” pasta that you can cook at home. I will admit this is leaps and bounds better than the boxed stuff, but it still cannot compare to the rewarding taste that culminates after time spent making your own pasta.
The types of pasta available for the making are vast and varied. Some are easier, others more time consuming, but all are worth an attempt. However, I’m a carb aficionado, and I have only made homemade pasta a handful of times. In an effort to change that fact, this weekend I was determined to venture out once again on a quest to satisfy my weary tastebuds.
I took on my favorite pasta, but with a twist — potato and beet gnocchi. The twist was the beet, but seeing as I love sweet potato and pumpkin gnocchi, I decided to give beet gnocchi a chance. I was thrilled with the results. Not only was this pasta simple to make, but it stood the test of the no additions rule. After all was said and done, I had only spent 35 minutes actively preparing and after two-and-a-half short minutes in the rolling boil, I had little ruby jewels decorating my plate.
The beets added a color that made the pasta pop off my plate (and into my mouth) and an added flavor complexity that tantalized each tastebud. All this and only four ingredients — I couldn’t believe it. Beets, potatoes, flour and salt — the simplicity stands in stark recognition of the fact that indeed sometimes less is more.
Homemade pasta is a culinary adventure I would encourage cooks of all levels to take on. Find the pasta that’s right for you, and in one evening, you can take a trip to where I first found love with carbs.
And just before I finish up, I guess I am forced to address some of my more nit-picky readers. Gnocchi is often considered pasta by most, but is also a dumpling — and by some people’s standards a dumpling doesn’t cut it to be proclaimed as pasta. Lucky for me, there is a large majority of people who consider gnocchi pasta. I’ll be taking my stand with that crowd.