In praise of wholewheat pasta.
March 20, 2011 by Robin Ellis
Our friend Rosemary Beau*, has pointed out in a comment, that I had not specified whether I use whole wheat pasta in the post for Penne in a tomato, rosemary and balsamic vinegar sauce.
She was right to mention it.
After my diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, we changed from eating white to whole wheat pasta. Although of course we noticed the difference in texture, we quickly came to prefer whole wheat pasta. We like the taste.
It favours strong sauces, like the one mentioned above.
Many supermarkets stock it these days–I just bought some at the Holloway Road branch of Waitrose in London–but the shapes available in whole wheat are more limited than for regular pasta–so far.
From a health perspective, I feel more comfortable eating the whole wheat variety.
Research shows that the Glycemic Index [GI
] of unrefined pasta is lower than refined–which is no surprise . What is surprising is that the difference is not as great as one might imagine.
Anyway, a moderate helping of pasta a week is a delight that I’m not giving up–for the moment at least!
How “al dente” it’s cooked is a matter of taste.
In Italy you’d think it an arrestable offence to overcook pasta–they cook it very al dente. It does make for agreeably slower eating and as it takes longer to digest, it’s considered healthier.
Dishes made with the whole wheat variety are still a rarity in restaurants–though I was brought out of a jet lag daze last year when I spotted one at the end of the pasta offerings on a menu in New York City.
*We got to know Rosemary many years ago when we stayed at her warmly elegant B&B in the La Sologne area, south of Orleans in central France.