I was recently invited to a dinner prepared by Italian Chef Walter Potenza for the launch of Pasta Lensi's line of legume pasta. Yes, you heard well: legume pasta. At first, I was not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by this pasta, and not just because of the recipes cooked by Chef Potenza, his logic being to make the pasta the star of the dish (he only uses three ingredients to keep the recipe simple and the flavors clean) and not just a "carrier" for a sauce.
So, this kind of pasta is made with legumes, providing nutrients, fiber and protein, and are vegan and gluten free. There are made of chickpeas, black beans, yellow and red lentils. These legumes are then made into a flour that will be the base for pasta, in various shapes, from sedani (black beans), casarecce (chickpeas), fusilli (red lentils) and penne rigate (yellow lentils).
The dinner took place at Midtown Terrace, a magnificent place with an amazing view of the city.
To accompany the dishes, I went for some red wine, a Feudo Arancio Pinot Noir Stemmari 2013.
The first dish was the Pasta Lensi Chickpea Casarecce with beans and escarole minestra, a peasant soup very earthy.
The second dish was the Pasta Lensi Yellow Lentils Penne Rigate with cauliflower and raisins:
The next dish was the Pasta Lensi Black Bean Sedani with green peas, mint and ricotta:
Last was my favorite: the Pasta Lensi Red Lentils Fusilli with bacon, butternut squash and spinach (as you can see, the pasta lost its vibrant red color during the cooking process):
We finished with some Italian cookies, but for sure, it was more to finish on a sweet note after a fantastic dinner.
This was an amazing dinner and I am now curious to try to cook this legume pasta myself. Interestingly, you cannot forget what they have made of and the chickpea and black bean ones have the most pronounced legume taste of all in my own opinion. As of the date of this post, the legume pasta from Pasta Lensi are only sold at Walmart, but they will soon extend to other supermarkets more known for their cutting edge as well as natural products such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I am curious to know how people would react in a blind taste, or even if it could be a way to persuade kids to eat legumes...It is definitely worth the try, but know that each of these pastas has a distinct taste, so, if you do not like one, you may like another.
Enjoy (I did)!
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