I’ll admit I’m a bit of a pasta purist. I prefer my classic durum wheat pasta on the undercooked side, I believe the only sauces to coat pasta should be tomato-based or olive-oil based (no to cream, cashews, tahini or any abomination that involves nutritional yeast), and the cheese should most definitely be freshly grated from a big wedge that was once part of a giant wheel. So it was a pretty deal for me to try pulse pasta.
Alternatives to traditional durum wheat pastas have grown hugely in recent years thanks to a wider acceptance of all dietary requirements. You can now get wholemeal pastas for extra fibre, and for those with gluten intolerances, theres a myriad of grains and legumes now being made into pasta- quinoa, chickpeas and spelt to name a handful. These pasta alternatives also boast a handful of nutritional benefits over traditional pasta- more protein, more fibre, high GI. But how does it compare to traditional pasta?
In the interest of research, I put on my brave pants and bought some Pulse Pasta from San Remo- it’s made from peas, lentils, chickpeas and borlotti beans. I chose it purely because it had the highest protein out of similar products in the pasta aisle at Woolworths. This was my first go at cooking alternative pasta at home, and I was actually pleasantly surprised.
Here’s the lowdown: the taste and mouth feel are very, very similar to regular dried pasta. It’s not nearly as good as freshly made (not dried) pasta, but if given a blind-test between regular dried pasta and pulse pasta, I don’t think I could pick it out. The main let-down was that the strands of spaghetti are not quite as elastic and springy as regular spaghetti- they are much quicker to snap in the pan. However, given the extra boost in protein (21.3g vs 15g per 100g of pasta), this is a small sacrifice I can accept for a quick mid-week dinner.
I’ve tossed this up with a traditional bolognese sauce, but using kangaroo mince. It’s a quick and easy mid-week dinner that’s ready in under 30 minutes. If you’ve got the spare time, the longer you simmer the bolognese sauce, the more amazing it ends up tasting. Or you could make a little extra and save some for the next day- there’s something magical about leftover pasta, isn’t there?
Kangaroo Spaghetti Bolognese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large brown onion- finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic- minced
- 1 carrot- peeled and finely diced
- 1 celery stick- finely diced
- 650 grams kangaroo mince
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 250 grams pulse pasta I've used Peas, Lentils & Chickpea Spaghetti
- 40 grams pecorino- freshly grated
- extra virgin olive oil- to serve
- chilli flakes- to serve
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes
- Add the garlic, carrots and celery, then season with salt. Stir to mix and fry for another 3-4 minutes
- Add the kangaroo mince and cook until browned- about 5 minutes
- Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano and dried thyme. Lower the heat to medium and leave to lightly simmer. The more time you have to let the sauce cook, the more amazing it'll taste! However if you don't have all day, allow the sauce to simmer for at least 20 minutes
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil, season generously with salt
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Once cooked, transfer the pasta over to sauce, adding an extra splash of pasta water to the sauce. Stir to mix in and leave to simmer for another minute or until the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta
- Serve the pasta, sprinkle with freshly grated pecorino and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to taste. Add chilli flakes if desired