FOOD DIARY: Penne pasta with chicken and eggplant

Diane fixed a wonderful pasta last night using the remains of the Chicken Cacciatora from the other day as well as some eggplant in the fridge and all sauteed in a passata tomato sauce.  The really brilliant thing about pasta is the huge number of combinations that go quite happily with the remains of any previous dinner.  About the only needs for any future meal are an adequate supply of pasta of differing shapes because the cook must match the pasta shape to the ingredients or sauce to which it is married.  Therefore dry ingredients like the one above meaning that the added ingredients to the sauce, like chicken and eggplant pieces, are dry and therefore marry better with penne pasta.  If the sauce is predominately moist then the pasta would be better with  solid variety like spaghetti, linguine or fusilli rather than tubular; at least this is how I interpret what I have read.

The Italians really have worked this food thing out well; they knew historically that bread goes stale after a few days so they turned their wheat into dried pasta which would keep virtually indefinitely.   Then their genius comes into play when they realized that certain shapes of pasta married better with certain sauces.

There are many shapes of pasta that are used with particular ingredients and it is our job as cooks to know which shape goes with which ingredients.  This little chore definitely adds to the joy of cooking (to borrow the name of an old American cookbook.)

Last night was unusual in that we had no salad but Diane made a very delicious antipasti of cheese, eggplant pieces topped with tomato sauce and dried black olives.  Our beverage was glasses of leftover bits of various wines. 

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