Pandesal and Pasta

Quick and easy, done in 15 minutes. I love bottled pesto, especially when it’s this particular kind (Gourmet Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Bento).

Pasta & Pandesal Bento

Bento #95 • 18 January 2007

Clockwise from top:
• Carrot sticks & sauce container of blue cheese dressing
• Sun-dried Tomato Pesto on tri-colored fusilli with grated keso de bola.
• Pandesal, sliced, toasted, and buttered and keso de bola slices.

Pandesal is a bread that is distinctly Filipino. You can even call it our national bread–it’s that commonplace. At times, it’s even been used as a barometer for the economy–they say prices are rising when the pandesal’s size shrinks.

Literally meaning salted bread, pandesal is a soft bread that’s crusty on the outside. It’s liberally dusted with fine breadcrumbs, creating a grainy exterior. It’s usually freshly cooked in the mornings and available from the neighborhood panaderia or bakeries, making it a popular breakfast bread. A popular way of eating pandesal would be to split it up lengthwise using your fingers, then spreading it with butter, jams, jellies, cheese, or even fish and meat like ham and sardines.

Keso de bola literally means cheese ball, and that’s what it is: a large ball of aged edam cheese that’s covered with red wax. It’s traditionally served during the Christmas season, hence, in these parts, edam is associated with the season.

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