Monday, April 11, 2005

a wee snippet about pasta

I have been sick with a bad cold and so I have not been cooking a lot lately. I did manage to scare up some spaghetti with meat sauce on Saturday night and realized it's time for a "how not to make bad pasta" post.

I made the sauce in the traditional way of browning ground beef, opening a jar of Classico pasta sauce, and combining the two, with a bit of red wine since it was a tad dry. That's not the important bit. The important bit is how to cook the pasta.

1) use lots of boiling water that has just slightly more salt than you're comfortable with in it. If you do not do this, your pasta will taste gross and I won't want to eat it. Do not even contemplate putting oil in the water.
2) Cook until it's just underdone. Then put the pasta IN the sauce and cook it until it's al dente. This serves a couple purposes: the pasta soaks up more sauce flavour, and the sauce is thickened by both the removal of liquid into the pasta, and by the release of starch into the sauce.

Serve. And you probably don't need to eat as much of it as you think you do, either.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Chow Chow said...

The pasta was good, but your maple/chipotle chicken was better. You should post the recipe so all can enjoy.

I now go back to munching on freshly baked banana bread, but first I leave a confession:

Sarah left a banana loaf in the oven this morning with instruction for me to test it in 15 minutes (with the timer on the microwave set to remind me -- note: the loaf was in the real oven). I checked the loaf at 15 minutes and it was undercooked, so I put it in again for 5 minutes and set the timer. Again, not done, so I *thought* I set the timer again, but instead I set the *time* on the microwave to 5am. Bloody hell if I know the difference between the "clock" and the "timer" button.

Anyways, 20 minutes later!!! Sarah IM'd me to ask how the loaf was. Yikes! I moved quickly to discover that in fact the loaf was perfectly fine and still moist inside. So, the point of this story? Well, if you leave food in the oven for a spouse to deal with, make sure it's a time-tolerant recipe... and if it's not, and you do forget it in the oven, blame the cat.

12:16 PM  
Blogger spughy said...

The other strategy for the loaf-in-oven-leaving-spouse is to set the oven to a lower temp. than one would normally cook said item at. Which is what I did. Because it's not the first time I've asked Stirling to take something out of the oven when the timer goes.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Frange said...

Why be so down on the oil in the pasta water?

And before you call me a food newbie, and say "Duh, the oil does NOTHING for the flavor and doesn't keep it from sticking, it just floats on the top;" I already know that.

What the oil DOES do, is change the surface tension of the water, which is quite useful what with the foamy starch and everything. The oil floating on top of the water prevents the foam from building upon itself and creating boilovers or the not-so-fun-to-remove starchy stains on the sides of the pot.

9:53 PM  

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