This post is about some lessons learned related to pasta.
I recently came across Jamie Oliver’s guidance on making pasta – 1 egg for every 100g of flour. This allows me to make manageable portions of pasta for our family of four. Till then, though, the recipe I used called for 3 eggs. The recipe, while good, resulted in way too much dough. In the past, whenever I had used the recipe, I had used up the entire dough but not last time. In a flash of brilliance, I decided to freeze the leftover dough the last time. That was a terrible idea. Freezing completely dries up pasta dough rendering it unusable. Lesson number 1 – DO NOT FREEZE PASTA DOUGH. Make fresh dough and use up all of it.
With that lesson learned, when I had extra dough left over from making Butternut Squash Ravioli (recipe here), I made some spaghetti and refrigerated it. The next day, using some leftover tomato basil sauce (recipe here), to which I added some cream, I made Spaghetti with a creamy tomato basil sauce. It was wonderful and used up ingredients I had made for other recipes. The creamy tomato basil sauce can also work as a soup. Lesson number 2 – use leftovers creatively, don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember that Italians were frugal and did not waste precious ingredients. Approach your dishes with that mindset.
Lesson number 3 – Never fully boil the pasta. Finish the pasta in the sauce. This was something that I learned on the Food Network and in hindsight it is pretty obvious. Cooking the pasta in the sauce lets the pasta soak up the sauce and makes for a much better dish. You will consciously need to undercook the pasta in water and in the sauce if you want it “al dente” because the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce even after you take it off the heat.
Pasta is not complex but a little care in how you cook it takes it from ho-hum to divine. I have discovered that if I use less ingredients but ensure they are fresh, the results are generally pretty good. Anyway, enough talking, gotta run and make some pizza. Buon appetito!