Jim Hillibish’s Boiling Point column.
The cliché about butterflies in your stomach approaches reality with farfalle, the Italian word for butterfly pasta.
We call it bow-tie. It fits both descriptions.
Every pasta shape has a purpose beyond appearance. Farfalle results from stamping squares of semolina dough into serrated edges and then pinching them in the center to form the “wings.”
The wings act as nifty scoops, making the shape perfect for heavier tomato or cream sauces, soups and marinated cold salads.
Farfalle is thicker than usual, allowing it to hold up well in baked dishes and soups. Al dente takes nine to 10 minutes on the boil, six minutes if they’re going in the oven.
Their flavor always is apparent, making them among the most hearty of pastas. Gourmet shops offer them in tomato, spinach and garlic flavors. They never lose their texture, even after an hour in the oven.
Not Kid Stuff
So why is farfalle one of the least purchased of the pasta group? The shape is part of it. It looks like a youthful novelty on a level with the memorable wagon wheels we enjoyed as kids. That’s a typically American reaction.
In Italy, farfalle is reserved for special dishes with complex sauces, definitely for company, definitely not toy food.
I always cook the entire box. Leftovers go to pasta salad marinated in Italian dressing.
Not all stores stock it, so you must shop around. It’s worth the search, rewarding your diners with a most pronounced pasta flavor.
FARFALLE CHICKEN SOUP
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup carrot rounds
1/4 cup chopped celery with leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon or basil
1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups farfalle
Fresh chopped parsley and grated Italian cheese for garnish
Wash and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Sauté in the olive oil until cooked through. Add to broth and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and herbs and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the farfalle, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until done, adding extra broth if needed. Serve in large soup bowls garnished with the parsley and cheese with a side garlic bread. Serves 2, heartily.