Bow tie pasta, also called farfalle or butterfly pasta, has a versatile shape that works in a variety of pasta dishes. It is somewhat flat so it works when you want a small, flat pasta; it has a whimsical shape that makes it stand out; and its center folds help it to gather sauce, though not as much as spiral or tube-shaped pastas. Choose either regular size bow ties or small versions sometimes sold as farfallini.
Bow ties add a visual appeal to summer pasta salads. Vegetarian salads need cheese cubes, crumbled cheese or toasted nuts for protein, while salads with shredded chicken, tuna or salmon flakes or shredded pork need vegetables for freshness and texture. Use any combination of your favorite vegetables, either raw or roasted, with a handful of chopped parsley or dill, or choose ingredients from your favorite ethnic cuisine. Dress a summer salad with either an oil-based salad dressing or a mayonnaise-based one.
Winter Baked Pasta
While any baked pasta recipe works with bow ties, the classic 1950s mock ravioli was designed with bow ties in mind -- their flat shape and decorative edging resemble the shape and edging of traditional raviolis. The casserole includes a package of thawed and drained frozen spinach, cooked ground hamburger, Parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, sauteed onions and an egg to bind the ingredients. Proportions of the ingredients aren't too important, so use as much or as little pasta as you want.
Bow Ties Anytime
With their flat shape, bow ties work in pasta recipes that call for wide noodles, such as stroganoff, or sauces that will cling to the flat surface of the pasta, such as a rich Alfredo sauce made with lots of Parmesan cheese. That said, you can also use your favorite tomato sauce with bow ties and the dish will actually allow bits of tomatoes or meat to cling in the bow tie's folds more than it does with spaghetti.
Chicken noodle soup made with small bow tie pasta is easier to eat than the traditional soup with wide egg noodles because the small bow ties fit perfectly on your spoon. Use the small bow ties for minestrone, vegetable soup or egg drop soup. Add the pasta to the soup only for the time it takes to cook so you don't get overcooked and mushy pasta. With soup for dinner, serve a green salad and crusty or garlic bread.
- The Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- How to Cook Everything Vegetarian; Mark Bittman
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images