Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Pasta is a great item to have on hand and for many reasons. It's inexpensive, has great versatility, can be used to stretch your meals without tasting like filler and has been the topic of debate for many foodies over the years on its applications and presentations.
Everybody has there own flavors and textures that makes pasta work for them. While we won't get into a debate on which is better, al dente or extra soft, we'll talk about how to get the most flavor out of the preparation process. Here are the most important things you'll need to know.
Don't skimp on your flavor.
Flavor is everything, so flavor everything!
Flavor your water and flavor and build your sauces.
When I'm working with pastas I like to stay thinking outside of the box. I could go traditional, but I ask myself "Why?", when I can let the mood of the day dictate the direction I choose. My wife and I tend to keep different types of pasta on hand like: buckwheat noodles; mung bean threads; rice; yam; corn; and quinoa pastas; along with the traditional wheat pastas. My thoughts are that if we're going to eat it or serve it to anyone, that every bite should have deep flavor, good texture and create long lasting memories.
1. Start out with a highly seasoned broth to cook your pasta in. You can cook it in a mock chicken, tomato or vegetable broth, seasoned coconut milk, french onion soup, etc. This will infuse the flavors of the broth into the pasta and ready it for the rest of your masterpiece dish. You're basically substituting the water your recipe calls for, to boil your pasta in, for broth/soup.
2. For your sauce try this out. Start with your oil (2-3 tablespoons), add your onions, caramelize and add your seasonings and diced tomatoes and saute them until they break down into a nice sauce. Then add your salt to taste, your fresh herbs and, if you're wanting to give it more texture, you can add mushrooms, tofu, cashews, etc. This will further build it out.
Simmer it to allow the flavors to blossom and then you're ready to serve.
The main reason you prepare your pasta dishes in this way is to insure that every bite is packed full of flavor, regardless of if your sauce touches your pasta or not.
Here are some other variations you may want to employ in your pasta presentations:
1. After you boil your pasta in a well seasoned broth drain it, drizzle it with some high quality oil and toss it with fresh herbs, peppers, olives and barbecued ground tofu and serve it hot or chill it and serve it as a salad.
2. Take your pasta out of the broth before it's completely finished cooking and add it to your sauce on the stove top. Simmer it until you got the desired texture and consistency.
3. Take your pasta out of the broth before it's finished cooking and add it as a layer in a lasagna-style dish and bake it off until done and serve.
All and all there are many ways you can make your pasta stand out in a crowd satisfying all who partake of it. If you can keep in mind to make every bite count by infusing it with flavor, regardless of your particular 'doneness' preferences, you'll create dishes that are second to none from now on.
For more information or to have one of your questions answered, drop me a line, stop by my forum, join my Vegetarian Resource Newsletter and definitely stay tuned in as I bring you more articles to help you effortlessly achieve your best, health, well being and wholeness throughout the life of your diet.
As always it's been great sharing with you. Until next time...