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Product talk: Whole wheat pasta


Whole-wheat pasta is an easy, delicious way to add more fiber and nutrients to your family’s diet.

Yes, I said delicious. While early versions of whole-wheat pasta were often heavy, gummy and, frankly, didn’t even taste like pasta, that is no longer the case.

Over the last several years, pastamakers have really improved the process of making whole-wheat varieties – keeping the great nutritional value while creating whole-grain pasta that is much more delicate in texture and neutral in flavor. If you haven’t tried a whole-wheat pasta lately, you may be surprised at the taste. Sometimes it can even be hard to tell the difference from regular, refined-wheat versions.

Whole-wheat pasta is just what it sounds like. It is made from flour that uses the whole grain of the wheat. (Regular white pasta is made from refined wheat flour, which has been stripped of the bran and germ, which contain most of the fiber and nutrients.) Some whole-wheat pastas use a combination of refined and whole-wheat flours.

Because it contains the whole grain, it’s a healthier choice. Whole-wheat pasta usually has at least two times as much fiber as regular pasta, as much as six grams per serving compared to just two for regular pasta. It also usually contains more protein, and more vitamins and minerals.

The result is usually a pasta that tastes a little nutty and earthy, and that is a little firmer when you bite into it. Because it’s a little heavier, whole-wheat pasta seems to go best with hearty, robust sauces like a meaty Bolognese or a rich Alfredo or carbonara. It can also stand up to strong cheeses, like gorgonzola or aged parmesan or romano.

This four cheese sauce is one I plan to try soon. With whole-wheat noodles, of course.

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