Friday, October 24, 2014

“Mushroom Pasta Carbonara” As We Celebrate "World Pasta Day"

Benvenuti! Welcome everyone, to my table, and let’s eat pasta, pasta, and more pasta! Why, you ask? Because October 25th is “World Pasta Day.” The objective of World Pasta Day, now in its 19th year, is to draw the attention of the media and the consumers to pasta. The fact is that pasta is a global food, which is consumed in all five continents. Another purpose of World Pasta Day is to encourage the nutritional and culinary advantages of pasta. The World Pasta Congress held a meeting in Rome, Italy, on October 25, 1995. Delegations from various countries discussed together the theme of pasta consumption, exchanging their ideas and experiences. After two years, in 1997, World Pasta Day was created, to recall and enhance the first event that took place with the international pasta community.  

The International Pasta Organization (IPO) invites families, chefs and restaurants around the world to gather friends and loved ones and cook up their favorite pasta dish for health, taste, and convenience. Pasta is enriched with vitamin-B which is necessary for cell formation, mental alertness, and energy conservation, plus it is very helpful in boosting the immune system. When pasta is combined with vegetables, legumes, cheeses, olive oils, meats, and fish, it is an added health advantage plus it tastes fabulous. 

To celebrate World Pasta Day, it is suggested that you try a new pasta. There are 600 shapes and flavors produced worldwide, including many whole grain options, as well as gluten free. But, watch your portions. Americans tend to overload their plates. A healthy portion of pasta is one to two cups cooked (1 cup of cooked pasta is about 200 calories). When eaten in the proper portions and in combination with healthy foods, pasta does not cause weight gain. Another way to enjoy pasta is to go meatless, try a hearty vegetable and bean soup or pasta with seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, or even pumpkin for a perfect fall meal. World Pasta Day is a great incentive to prepare a healthy pasta meal by getting creative in your kitchen. So, celebrate pasta and gather with family and friends to take advantage of a delicious meal. 

As you prepare pasta for your World Pasta Day, I would love to share a few tips with you:  
1. Use lots of water when cooking pasta. Do not add oil. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking together.
2. Pasta is ready when it’s “al dente.” It should be cooked completely through, yet firm enough to offer some resistance to your bite.
3. Many pasta shapes come in different sizes. The Italian suffix “ini” means smaller
(Example: spaghettini is a thin version of spaghetti), while “oni” means larger.

Being an Italian-American, pasta is a big part of our family gatherings. I remember on Sundays we would have the whole family over and “macaroni” as we called it, was on the menu for the day. We would wonder what type of pasta my mom would cook for that particular Sunday dinner. My personal favorites are Shells and Angel Hair, or Capellini. The shells always held the sauce in the little pocket and were fun to eat. The angel hair, is much thinner than spaghetti, it also cooks very fast. 

My choice of pasta today is called Mostaccioli. Pronunciation: muss-tah-chee-OH-lee  Notes: In Italian they mean "little mustaches." They are smooth tubes of Italian pasta cut on the diagonal. You can substitute Penne or Ziti, but my suggestion is to try a new kind of pasta. My recipe this week is “Mushroom Pasta Carbonara.” There are many theories for the origin of the name. The name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. In parts of the United States the etymology gave rise to the term "coal miner's spaghetti." It has even been suggested that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari ("charcoalmen"), a secret society prominent in the early, repressed stages of Italian unification. It seems more likely that it is an urban dish from Rome. I absolutely love this creamy and cheesy recipe. I serve it with a big green salad and a glass of delicious white wine to make a complete meal. 

Here are some wine choices:
Pinot Grigio - its a crisp, clean, immensely food-friendly white.
Gavi di Gavi - another very popular Italian white for those who like a fuller, slightly smoother white.
Soave - same reasoning, smooth, dry, brilliantly food-friendly.
Picpoul de Pinet - a crisp white from the Languedoc coast that would work really well too.
Chablis - also works well with creamy sauces, and with ham.
Teroldego - a light Italian red that would rub along well if you wanted a red.

                                             “Mushroom Pasta Carbonara

Servings: 4
Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes

2-1/2 cups uncooked Mostaccioli
8 bacon strips, diced
1 jar (4-1/2 oz) whole mushrooms, drained
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
6 to 8 drops hot pepper sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Cook Mostaccioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Brown mushrooms in drippings; remove to paper towels. Drain drippings from pan. Add the cream, butter, parsley, garlic, pepper sauce and salt if desired to the skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Drain Mostaccioli; add to cream mixture. Stir in the bacon, mushrooms, and cheese; heat through. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with green onions. Buon Gusto!! (Enjoy)

Till Next Time…….

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All Rights Reserved


  1. Good tips on pasta! I must say I love any shape of pasta and I have it almost daily. I am a proper Italian when it comes to pasta. I love your carbonara, a classic dish and always one of the best ones.
    I hope you have a lovely weekend!! xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your comment. I also try to have it once a day, pasta is the best. It's what you do with it that makes the calories. Yes, this dish is a simple but classic one. I sometimes put in salami or ham, but this was another way to make carbonara, There are so many variations to this dish. It is always a dish I go back to for comfort foods. Thanks for your visit, dear friend. Have a blessed and wonderful weekend as well. Dottie :)

  2. Good morning Dottie ,
    I love carbonara , this is a new version I will have to try . I think your post on Pasta is great . I also make a mean salad with small pasta shells . I cook more vegetables not when I cook pasta , it balances it out .
    Your post had a lot of useful information as usual and thanks for sharing blessing for a wonderful weekend ~Nee~ ;-D

    1. Good afternoon Nee,
      Another glorious day on Long Island. Hope that your Saturday is a good one. Thanks for coming over and visiting. I agree Nee, love that Carbonara, like I said you can add so many different ingredients in this pasta recipe. It really is a good base plus it can feed many people by adding just more to the pot. I love the shells, and your salad must be delish! I love the veggies in the pasta too...I am glad that you found this post interesting. Thanks for your comment, and I hope that you have a blessed weekend, dear friend.
      Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, I didn't know yesterday was pasta day, but in my book everyday is pasta day! This looks like a delicious recipe. Blessings, Catherine xo

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thanks for visiting and your comment. I totally agree, with you...everyday is pasta day! Yes, this recipe is yummy and it really hits the spot a good comfort food. Everyone loves some form of Carbonara.....Have a blessed Sunday dear friend...have to jump over to your Midnight Musings....haven't seen that one yet and I do look forward to your poems.
      Dottie :)

  4. Dear Dottie , blogger is late again . Louise is posted so do the same as before . Blessing ~Nee~ ;- D

    1. Thanks Nee, I see Blogger is going coo-coo again. I signed up with Louise for her newsletter. This way when she gets a new post I will get an email to let me know, so there will be no problem. You are the best, thanks for thinking of me! Have a great day...:)

  5. Actual pasta names v/s what we call them in our head. Go on, order some pasta @