Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pasta Valente - Noodles

It's kind of a funny story -- how I found out about Pasta Valente. It was when one of my friends changed her name to "Pasta Valente" on her Facebook page. Come to find out, my animal-rights activist, yoga-teacher friend had an aunt who made pasta under the name of Pasta Valente! And so my interest sparked.

Though not a fully vegan company, Pasta Valente, founded by Fran Valente in 1982, offers a bunch of hard-to-find vegan pastas. Fran teamed up with her daughter, Mary Ann, in 1987 and now the team is in full force selling their pastas all over the country.  Using custom, locally-milled wheat flour mixed with herbs, spices, and dried vegetables, they roll, hand-cut, and air dry the pasta the old-fashioned way to make the finished product. Each package is even hand-packed to ensure quality control.

They may be using locally-milled flour, but I can assure you these aren't your run of the mill pastas. They are by far some of the best pastas I have ever tasted. And what makes them so?  The flavor! If I had a dime for every spinach pasta I've ever bought that tasted like nothing, I'd be a rich woman! I tried Pasta Valente's Spinach Angel Hair and it was bursting with spinach flavor. It tasted as if she had ground fresh spinach up, mixed it with flour, and made it into pasta! But, actually, I'm not too far off as the ingredients are all natural -- just vegetables and unbleached wheat flour!

The Black Olive and Garlic Fettuccine was oh so fresh. It cooked in just 3 minutes and I topped it with a tomato vodka sauce that I modified based on the recipe that came with the package. You could even see and taste the speckles of black olives. To make the pasta, they just use unbleached wheat flour, freeze-dried garlic, black olives, salt, and, ferrouse gluconate (to stabilize color).

Finally, I have to say that the Chipotle Fettuccine was my favorite. The fettuccine noodles were bursting with chipotle flavor. I made the vegan alfredo sauce that came with the package and served the noodles with the sauce. I didn't love the alfredo sauce, but I did love the noodles. Wow!

Everything about these noodles was great -- the soft texture, the flavor, and that they cook in just a few minutes. I also love that there are no additives, preservatives, or sugar substitutes. You can even find some of their vegan varieties on Amazon here. Next, on my list to try is the red pepper fettuccine - yum!

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