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Old 08-21-2006, 08:25 PM   #1  
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Default Is whole wheat/whole grain pasta supposed to be bitter?

Since joining this site, I noticed that a lot of people have spoken about the benefits of switching to whole wheat pasta. I was at the grocery store last week, and I picked up some Hodgson Mill whole wheat/whole grain spaghetti. I tried it today and was sadly disappointed by the bitter taste. Now I'm not sure if it is just the spinach one or if whole wheat/grain pasta is always a little bitter. I hate to spend money on another box I can't eat, so I was hoping someone might be able to help!

Thanks!
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:01 PM   #2  
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I've always found it to be really good and not bitter. I've never tried the spinach kind though. When I make it, I never eat it by itself; I usually add diced tomatoes, olive oil, broccoli and either grilled chicken or shrimp. Maybe you can try that and see if it tastes better to you.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:08 PM   #3  
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I've only had the whole wheat and didn't find it bitter. I really like the blended ones (Barilla is the one I get), and if I'm getting whole wheat, I try to get angel hair which I like better probably because it's thinner - plus it cooks faster. But like Kathy, I have something on them, not eating it plain.

Kathy - just noticed your weather thingy - 97 at 8 pm!! It's 56 here at 5 pm
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:18 PM   #4  
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I've never experienced bitter WW pasta before. I've been eating it for about 2 years now. Maybe it is the spinach.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:36 PM   #5  
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I remember when I first started eating whole wheat pasta that I had a hard time eating it. I started by eating marinara sauce on it so that I would not notice the taste so easily. Then I ate lighter sauces on white pasta till I got a little more used to it. After a while I just switched to the whole grain. I find that I really like it now and I think it tastes much better than white. It give the dishes a whole new dimmension to them that they have never had before. I do remember it taking me a while to get used to it, but tonight I had white clam sauce (this is a really light sauce) on whole wheat pasta and loved it. Sometimes I think it just takes some time to get used to it.

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Old 08-21-2006, 10:25 PM   #6  
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The first time I tried whole wheat pasta I hated it. Then I read an article in Cooks Illustrated which rated the various brands and showed that there were clear differences in taste and quality.

Quote:
OUR FAVORITE

RONZONI Healthy Harvest, $1.79 for 13.25 ounces
The only pasta that tasted "undeniably wheaty" without a gummy or grainy texture.

RECOMMENDED

EDEN Organic,
$2.15 for 14 ounces
Nice texture, with a mild flavor-though some found it too mild. "Where's the wheat?"

BIONATURAE,
$2.29 for 16 ounces
The texture of this mild-mannered, "not very wheaty" pasta rivals that of conventional pasta. "A good introduction" to whole wheat pasta.

WESTBRAE NATURAL, $2.49 for 16 ounces
The flavor merely "hints at wheat." Several tasters noticed traces of "gumminess."


NOT RECOMMENDED

ANNIE'S HOMEGROWN, $1.99 for 16 ounces
Full-flavored to some, "intense" to others. Several tasters swore they detected cinnamon.

DE CECCO, $2.29 for 17.5 ounces
The most dietary fiber, but the "gritty, grainy"
texture "feels healthy." The flavor was mild.

EDEN Biodynamic, $2.06 for 14 ounces
Tasters decried the "sandy" texture.

DEBOLES, $1.99 for 8 ounces
Thin noodles were "sticky" and "gluey."

NATURAL VALUE, $2.54 for 16 ounces
"Toothless" pasta reminded tasters of rice.

HODGSON MILL, $2.39 for 16 ounces
"Doughy," "mealy," "sour," and "dusty" sum it up.
This was published in November of last year. I don't think Barilla Plus was on the market yet, or it just wasn't included in the review. I recently tried Barilla Plus and I like it. So for a whole wheat pasta, that's what I choose. However, I'm not against eating a good white pasta, either. I really enjoy Castellana pasta
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:35 PM   #7  
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I think that explains a lot -- mine is the Ronzoni. I only use rotini and spaghetti, so don't have much experience with the other types.

Pat, you're so funny! Yep ... we live in ****, Texas. It's 95 outside and it's 9:30. We only get down to the low 80s overnight and are still going over 100 every day.
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:18 PM   #8  
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Thanks for the ratings Suzanne. The Barilla Plus is what I get, though I've had the Ronzoni. I had it in quite a heavy sauce though, so didn't notice the "wheatiness." My main gripe is that none of the WW pastas come in all the neat shapes!

Kathy, I knew there was a reason I don't live in Texas.
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:32 PM   #9  
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Suzanne -- Thanks for the Cook's Illustrated Review -- I love them!

I also use the Barilla Plus pasta and love it... I have not yet tried the Ronzoni, but it turns out I have some in my cupboard!
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Old 09-04-2006, 02:00 PM   #10  
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It tastes bitter to me as well. I have a hard time with certain grains and certain vegetables when it comes to bitterness. So I don't eat the bitter ones! :-)
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Old 09-04-2006, 02:33 PM   #11  
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It doesn't taste bitter to me, tastes...nutty. My favorite pasta at the moment is Trader Joe's organic sprouted pasta. It only takes 4 minutes to cook and has a fabulous, chewy texture and nutty taste. I tend to eat pasta with tons and tons of spicy tomato sauce, so maybe I wouldn't notice the bitterness anyway?
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Old 09-04-2006, 02:45 PM   #12  
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I have gotten to where I prefer the whole wheat pasta to regular -- now the regular tastes a bit too slick and slimy. I love the texture of the whole wheat and also eat it with a lot of sauce. My favorite is to cook the pasta (your choice of variety, but I prefer spaghetti), drain and add a little olive oil, then add drained canned diced tomatoes, minced garlic, steamed broccoli and mushrooms or onions and either grilled chicken strips or shrimp. I make a big pot of it and eat it for leftovers. SOOO good.
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Old 09-04-2006, 03:38 PM   #13  
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I try to base my choice of white vs wheat on what I'm doing with it, and how the flavor will balance best.

Kathy, if you are making something that seems to scream for white pasta instead of whole wheat, look for an artisan type pasta that is hand cut or cut with bronze dies since it has a rougher texture so the sauce will stick and the texture is better, provided you never overcook it Most mass produced pasta is slick.
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Old 09-05-2006, 12:17 AM   #14  
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My biggest complaint with ww pastas is that they don't come in all the neat shapes that white pasta does! I'm pretty much stuck with spaghettie/angel hair, penne and those twisty shapes (rotini?). I really like pasta salads made with the little shells, and I also like the giant shells to stuff, and the bowties just because!

I lived in Seattle for 8 months in 2000, and became addicted to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Sigh. Neither will ever come here.... Closest we get is an Asian market in Anchorage (which is 50 miles away).
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Old 09-05-2006, 09:11 PM   #15  
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You have to be careful when choosing WW pastas. I love the flavor, and even textures that are pretty grainy are still ok by me, but I picked up some WW pasta on sale once and it was DISGUSTING. Very very bitter, and I had to throw the entire thing out.

Turns out they added flax seed to it, which would account for the taste. (And it's even debatable whether or not the added flax would do anybody any good after being processed and boiled, but I digress.)

I tend to stick with the plain flavors, because some of the additives in the other ones can really ruin the flavor. Then I can add my own fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, etc.
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