When operators try to key into big, sustaining trends, like Eastern Mediterranean flavors and plant-forward recipe development, it’s important to stay relatable. Dining consumers seek out new flavor experiences, but as we know, they look for it within the friendly confines of the familiar. Pasta is the great equalizer, offering a well-known, comfort-food platform for today’s most compelling flavor trends.
Matt Harding, Director of Culinary at fast-casual Piada Italian Street Food, dips into the red-hot cuisine of the Eastern Med with his Mnazaleh Mashup with Barilla Chickpea Casarecce.
Mnazaleh is a classic plant-forward dish from the Levant that features roasted eggplant and chickpeas in a braised tomato stew. Harding’s translation sees a touch of heat from harissa, along with a splash of vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar for a welcome balance of sweet and sour.
In a smart strategy that moves this flavorful, aromatic vegetarian stew into a more familiar format, he serves it over pasta made with chickpea flour—a move that both keeps it in the Eastern Med universe while making it gluten-free and plant-forward.
“The soft texture of the roasted eggplant pairs really nicely with the Barilla Chickpea pasta, as do the Middle Eastern flavors,” says Harding. “It’s a simple, approachable way to get to know a classic dish from this region.” With pasta as the foundation, this dish answers the call for global flavor in a format this is recognizable and inviting.
For more on-trend ideas that use pasta as the familiar anchor, go to: Barillafs.com