August 30, 2004

the longer the better?

Monday, August 30

I had found this superlong spaghetti called "SLIM-ETTI" ages ago at one of my local natural food stores, and had since wondered if I should get a bag every time I went to that store. As I kept stopping at the same spot and pick up one bag and then put it back, he suggested I should get one - yes, it was very simple advice, but the thing was, we don't have a big deep pot large enough to cook regular spaghetti, let alone the extra-long ones. I would sometime simply break noodles into half so that they would safely fit in our small pot, but then, what is the whole point to have longer-than-regular noodles?? Other than being extraordinarily long, the SLIM-ETTI were nothing but plain spaghetti.

After about five times of going back to the same spot, I finally made up my mind to purchase one of them. Yay.

Then I was idly wondering what kind of sauce to pair with this pasta. After all, other than it was ridiculously long it was regular spaghetti, so anything should go with it - like our all-time favorite pesto genovese.

The picture on the front cover of the latest issue of Williams-Sonoma catalogue that regularly comes in the mailbox happened to be of penne with Basil-Lemon Pesto that I had seen on their website and meant to make one of these day, so for a moment this one seemed to be the winner of today. I figured, however, we were running out of pine nuts at this moment - okay, next please.

As I was browsing on their website I came across with another pesto recipe, one using arugula. Luckily we had a bag of fresh local arugula from the farmers' market in the fridge. Now I knew what we were having for dinner today.

I had seen commercially available jars of arugula pesto, but this was my first time actually eating (and making) one myself. The process was as easy as making regular basil pesto and in a matter of ten or fifteen minutes the pesto was ready.

Now it was the fun part: cooking the ultra-long spaghetti in the small pan. Actually it wasn't a big problem at all; once I put one end of a bunch of noodles, they got tender immediately (quicker than regular spaghetti, I'd say) and let the rest of pasta smoothly sink in the boiling water. I shouldn't have even worried about it, really.

Arugula appeared to fade its color to a far lesser degree than basil leaves, as my pesto stayed bright green all the way with the hot noodle on a plate. It reserved the distinct, nutty flavor of fresh arugula. This was such a simple and tasty dish that I would definitely make again.

And by the way, the insanely long spaghetti tasted just as fine as any regular spaghetti; but I am glad I did buy it, or I would have dreamed of it for the rest of my life.

Accompanying the simple pesto dish was a bottle of French apple cider I got in Kona the other day. The bottle caught my eyes with its vivid contrast of yellow and green, and then with its name: bon apple tite. Obviously a pun on French phrase bon apetit with apple, it made me chuckle and this was enough reason to get a bottle for home.

This was non-alcoholic cider and although it tasted good itself, I couldn't help wishing that I could get a real French cidre - I mean, hard cider in my neighborhood.


Santos said...

that slim-etti label is a little crazy. it looks like it was created in the 1960s/70s, they printed a million bags and are still trying to use them up.

i love cidre. we don't have it here, either, but at least we have hard cider from australia. i think there's a higher alcohol content, though. oh well.

chika said...

Hi Santos,
I can only hope that the spaghetti themselved weren't the one they manufactured in the 60s or 70s... :P

Higher alcohol content? That's even better, is it??? My complaint is they added sugar and stuff in the American cider I can find around here. Boo!!

Santos said...

mmm. alcohol.

have you ever been to an english pub and tried a "snakebite"? it's half hard cider, half ale. a lot of pubs won't serve it because it makes some men violent, but apparently it doesn't have the same effect on women. or so one pub owner admitted to me. it's really good.

i was brewing kits can be found everywhere--why not try making cidre sometime?!

chika said...

Hi Santos,
I don't think I have ordered a snakebite ever (I usually have shandygaff at a English/Irish pub) but I think I have heard of it. Interesting story - to tell or hear, at least ;)

I know an English who was making his own cider at home in Japan (out of the legal framework, if you know what I mean), so I am pretty sure you can make it if you try...

Anonymous said...

Our store quit selling this product. Do you know where I can buy it in the US.


Posted by Mary Londry

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary

I got this from my (then) local natural food store in Hawaii and haven't seen them elsewhere. I searched for their website but coudln't find one, but there seemed several shops selling them. 

Posted by chika