317 words on Food
As I shun potatoes, I do like other staples like bread, rice or pasta a bit more and have made and eaten my fair share of them. The fact that pasta needs to be cooked in plenty of water so it doesn’t end up sticky had been carved into my mind for ages – presumably since my Italian friend Rita taught me the big dos and don’ts of pasta making, which she learned from her mother [who happens to make a fantastic sugo that makes a brilliant base for pasta sauces, so you wouldn’t even dare to argue…].
And there is something to using a big pot of nicely boiling and bubbling water to cook your pasta it. It just has a good feel to it.
Strangely it turns out that – at least for reasonably small pasta – it’s not wrong but still unnecessary to work with a huge amount of boiling water. Just stirring enough at the beginning of the boiling process suffices to prevent sticking. And you don’t need to boil the water strongly either, the pasta comes out fine anyway.
This bit of knowledge comes out of The food lab column at the serious eats site. I really enjoy reading it as it puts a bit of scientific method on our cooking habits and tries figuring out what is reasonable to do and what’s just superstition – along with an attempt to explain things a little [and not going totally chemical and unpractical like the ‘molecular’ cooking people do]. Their burger lab posts are very cool as well, in fact I’m enjoying their slight obsession with burgers.
As I wanted to eat some green asparagus anyway, I went along and cooked the paste recipe given on the page. Nice and creamy because of the ricotta and with an interesting touch given by the lemon zest. Mine didn’t look as pretty as theirs, though:
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