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Rombi pasta is a form of short ribbon pasta which has a distinctive rhombus shape and ripples along two of its edges. This pasta can be used in a variety of dishes, and if you have trouble tracking it down for some reason, you can substitute with broken-up lasagna pasta. Italian specialty stores sometimes carry rombi pasta along with other unusual pasta shapes, and it can also be ordered through import companies which carry Italian products. Cooks with pasta machines can, of course, make their own rombi pasta.
This pasta shape may be small, but it is quite dynamic, making rombi pasta a great multi-use pasta. The ruffles create a trap for thinner sauces, and also support heavier sauces and toppings such as meatballs and roasted vegetables. Rombi pasta can also be used in baked pasta dishes such as casseroles, and included in soups or served as a side with stews to trap the stew juices. Pasta salads with rombi can also work quite well, with the somewhat unusual shape adding a layer of interest to the dish.
Ideally, cooks should seek out rombi pasta made with durum wheat. Durum wheat is a variety of wheat which has been bred to be especially hard. When durum wheat flour is used in pasta, the pasta retains its shape and resilience, even when slightly overcooked. Softer wheats tend to yield a softer pasta which may turn into mush at the drop of a hat, which is usually undesirable. For cooks who want some variation, rombi pasta may be flavored and colored with various vegetables and spices during the manufacturing process.
One thing to watch out for when cooking rombi pasta is sticking. Because this pasta has a simple, flat shape, individual pieces can tend to adhere to each other. The pasta should be stirred frequently during the cooking process, and run under cold water or tossed with oil immediately after draining to discourage pasta pieces from adhering to each other.
Like other pastas, rombi pasta is essentially indestructible as long as it is kept in a cool, dry place. If the pasta is exposed to moisture, it can potentially mold or turn into a sticky mass. Rombi's versatility makes it an excellent choice as a cupboard staple for cooks who like to keep pasta around. This pasta also sometimes appeals to picky eaters who may express boredom when faced with ordinary pasta shapes.
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