Monday, August 29, 2011

A Mex-periment, and the Folly of Making Culinary Assumptions

K&S World Market labelled these strange little orange wagon wheels "Pasta Para Chicharron". I found them on a table in the produce aisle, and culinary experimenter that I am, I brought a package home.

Neither Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy mentioned them, but this did not worry me since they did not mention Mexican vermicelli, or fideo, either, and I had cooked that pasta without a problem. And some research on the web at least told me that "chicharron" was pork skin. So there it was -pasta made of flour and pork.

What condiment would one use on pork skin pasta?

A good one, made with white onions, Mexican chorizo,poblano peppers, queso, crema, and avocado. I was proud of myself.

I threw the pasta into boiling water. I thought eight minutes would be enough. But it was still too chewy. At twelve minutes the chewiness persisted, but I drained it and dumped it in a bowl, fearing that any more boiling might cause it to self destruct. I took a cupful and tossed it with the sauce, and covered it with crumbled cheese. I took a mouthful, then told myself that this, like cactus paddles and prickly pears, must be an acquired taste. The pasta had all the charm of a tasteless gummy candy.

I planned to feed the rest of the wagon wheels to my dogs as treats and bribes. But once again, I found enlightenment on-line. I put a few inches of canola oil in a deep pan, heated it to frying hot, and tossed in the orange wheels. I watched them burst into pork skin snacks, fit for the corrida or a Titan's game. Feed these, salted,along with guacamole or cheese dip to a Super Bowl party, and your husband will have second thoughts about ever leaving you.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I never heard of this type of pasta, Betsy. It goes to show you how pastas can be made from different ingredients.

We were fortunate to escape damage from hurricane Irene...but sadly so many didn't :(

Candace said...

Thank you, Thank you. I too was just browsing K&S and found myself bringing these home. But mine are squares, not wagon wheels. I typed in pasta para chicharron on my search engine and voila! There you were! Of course, when I saw K&S, I was even more intriqued. I travel from Millersville wayyyyyy over to K&S for my husband's favorite bulgoggi marinade. Thanks for letting me know how to fix these. I would have thrown them in boiling water.