Healthful whole-grain pastas

Make flavorful dinners based on a new supermarket staple that's packed with vitamins and fiber

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When we tried these nutrient-packed pastas in Sunset's test kitchen, we were surprised to find that most brands of whole-grain spaghetti and linguine were nearly indistinguishable from traditional refined-flour pastas. Stirred into a simple soup with kale and parmesan, they were mild-tasting, tender, and delicate.

We noticed more of a difference with heftier, extruded pastas, such as penne, rotini, ziti, and fusilli. Because their flavor is stronger, these pastas work best with assertive sauces, such as the tangy lemon-yogurt sauce on our pasta salad.

When shopping for whole-grain pastas, it's important to know that the amount and type of whole grain varies from brand to brand, from multigrain blends such as Barilla Plus to 100 percent whole-wheat brands like Bionaturae.

We particularly liked the flavor and texture of whole-wheat pastas made by De Cecco, but all the brands we tried worked well in the recipes above.

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