Wednesday, November 12, 2014

15 Tips for Preparing Delicious Pasta

Cooking pasta might seem easy, but to master it there are some important steps to take. Using the fool-proof tips listed below, based on traditional Italian cooking methods, you are sure to be pleased with the results:

1. Wait until the 11th hour. It’s essential to cook the pasta at the last minute, just before serving

2. Water, water and more water. Use 3.5 ounces of pasta for one liter of water.
3. Boiling. Bring water to a boil over high heat.
4. The perfect balance. Use two teaspoons of salt with 3.5 ounces of pasta and one liter of water for perfect proportions. Pour the salt into the water and reduce heat when the water boils. If you pour too much salt, put a potato in the pot to absorb the excess. If you find you’ve added too little salt, balance it with the sauce, NEVER add salt to the boiling water or put it directly on the pasta.
5. Not a drop of oil! NEVER pour oil in the cooking water. The fat in the oil prevents the sauce from mixing with the pasta. The only exception is lasagna, because the oil will prevent the sheets from sticking together, which is especially important if you’re not using a high-quality pasta.
6. Add the pasta as soon as the water starts to boil. Calculate 3 ounces of uncooked pasta per person (3.5 ounces if you’re not going to mix it with any sauce), and add it when the water starts to boil. Then stir immediately. If the pasta is short” (penne, fusilli, farfalle, etc.) pour it all in at once. If the variety is “long” (spaghetti, fettuccini, etc.) pour it in slowly, adding portions at a time.
7. Cooking time. It depends on the shape and type of pasta but there are no hard and fast rules. Follow the directions on the package. If you want to serve the pasta cold, cook it for one to two minutes longer than indicated.
8. Keep it uncovered. Never cover the pot during cooking.
9. Stir well... and often. Do it every three minutes with a wooden spoon for short pasta and with a wooden fork for long pasta.
10. Test it. One minute before the pasta is finished cooking, try it. If the texture is tender outside but slightly resistant inside... it’s already al dente. Bravo!
11. How to drain? Always use a classic colander. Keep two tablespoons of cooking water nearby in case you want to dilute the sauce or sauté the pasta in a pan.
12. To rinse or not to rinse, that is the question... Rinsing pasta makes it lose the starch that helps the sauce to stick to most varieties. But if you are baking the pasta (e.g. lasagna, cannelloni), or are using it in a salad, you MUST rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking and to remove the excess starch. 
13. The finishing touch. After the pasta is drained, pour on a bit of extra virgin olive oil if you aren’t using a sauce.
14. Sauces. For better consistency, pour the pasta into previously heated sauce (in a pan), rather than pouring the sauce into the pasta.  
15. Get it out fast. Serve the pasta immediately for the best taste and texture.
Sunday, November 2, 2014

Easy STAR Butter Flavored Olive Oil and Herb Roasted Turkey

Try this simple and tasty recipe this year to get a turkey that is perfectly browned on the outside while being both tender and juicy on the inside.
Easy Olive Oil and Herb Roasted Turkey
  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, thawed if frozen, neck and giblets removed, and rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup STAR Butter Flavored Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place turkey in a roasting pan with a lid.
2. In a small bowl, combine STAR Butter Flavored Olive Oil, dried basil, 2 sprigs of the rosemary chopped, salt, and black pepper. Using a basting brush, apply the mixture to the outside of the uncooked turkey. Place the remaining sprigs of rosemary inside the turkey. Then pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover.
3. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the
thigh measures 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove bird from oven, and allow to
stand for about 30 minutes before carving.
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