View Full Version : Pasta

06-09-2004, 01:30 AM
Since we are all bike riding super-stars I figure we all consume a fair amount of the macaroni.. As a amature wanna-be gourmet I am always curious to know about other peoples eating habits. So what I really want to know is how do you cook your pasta? In water I know but with a jar of Ragu? West coast style with snow peas, olive oil and tofu? Yuk..or with a cream sauce, olive oil, Pancetta? Make your own pasta? Buy dried, fresh, gnocci?
Tonight I sauted chopped zuccini, mushrooms, prosciutto, garlic chopped tomatos, crushed red pepper, and then added cream..yikes, tossed it with some imported linguini. Oh yes lots of the cheesy parmasan. Always get the pasta with the rough surface.. I just remembered I forgot the basil! What a dork. It was ok..better luck next time..

So share your favorite way to make macaroni if you please.

oink oink

:banana: :banana: :banana:

06-09-2004, 05:27 AM
in ragu, no way. also i don't like ordering pasta at a restaurant, i figure the ingredients costs $3 and they're charging me $20? no way. anyway i usually open a can of stewed tomatoes, do some more stewing, basil and oregano, (more basil), cayenne and red pepper, salt, fried up and cut up onions, loads of garlic (at _least_ one clove, usually 2 or more), mushrooms if i have'm, and some meat, such as an italian sausage or seafood mix. it's good.

most importantly, i only eat the thicker pastas, linguine/fettucine, and always al dente, not fully cooked.


06-09-2004, 06:15 AM
I've been a lifelong eater of refined, white pasta. I avoid Ragu, but have been known to use a better quality pre-made sauce, as well as "west coast style" and just about any other way imaginable. But lately I've been transitioning over to whole wheat pasta, going for the longer burn of complex carbs. I don't like the stuff as much, but I'm getting used to it and sometimes I'm even starting to like it.

What about the rest of you - white or dark?


Too Tall
06-09-2004, 06:30 AM
I could go on and on Shino...cooking for friends is a passion. The BEST thing I ever did to improve my pastas was to buy a large Le Creuset 3 1/2 qt covered casserole. Mostly I cook in the Italian tradition...pasta cooked in salted water very firm and than transfered straight to the sauce and finish cooking. Two dishes are SOP at Casa Too Tall: chopped leftover veggies with onions, garlic and sardines (pasta = any medium flat noodle) or fish with red sauce.

Mrs. Too Tall's alllll time fav. is a straight up Sicilian deal. Saute onions (diced) with garlic (LOTS) and mashed sardines (LOTS!!!) and a generous amt. of very good olive oil over low heat...add linguini...adjust with pot water so it's not to tight and garnish with paper thin Parm. Regg. and a dash of flat parsley.

But I could go on ;)

06-09-2004, 07:57 AM
i like this sauce quite a bit and think you will as well. the meatballs add a nice flavor to sauce. i am interested in hearing out people's meatball recipes.

1. saute 1 clove finely diced garlic and 1 finely diced shallot in a generous quantity of olive oil.
2. skin 6 vine ripened tomatoes and dice. (dip tomatoes in boiling water for 30sec. called blanching(sp)).
3. in a pot, puree tomatoes with a hand blender and then toss in garlic / shallot mix. this leaves the garlic/shallots chunks instead of pureed.
4. cook on low heat and add salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, a splash of red wine, and i like a little crushed red pepper. you might add a pinch of oregano.
5. simmer while preparing meat balls.
6. add meat balls and simmer for 45 min.
7. just when you are going to take it off the stove, add a small pat of butter.
8. serve with whatever pasta. i prefer cork screws or some small crazy shape.
1. chopped meat.
2. an egg
3. a shallot diced as finely as possible.
4. garlic powder.
5. a slice of bread.

mix it all up and roll into balls.

Roy E. Munson
06-09-2004, 10:10 AM
1: Open the top of the box. This proves to be difficult to some but if you look closely, you will notice that it is, supposedly, an easy to rip open box.

2: Bring water to a boil in a pot. My sister showed me a trick--if you fill the pot with hot water from the tap, then it comes to a boil faster.

3: Put the pasta in the pot and cook until it has reached it's desired tenderness. Do not stick your hand in the pot or you will be badly burned and be called various insult names by people close to you.

4: When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add milk, butter/margarine and the 100% REAL CHEESE (as my sister says) sauce mix. Stir until well coated.

5: Serve on a plate. Garnish is optional. It tastes great with pork and beans, or salad, or ketchup, or hot dogs....try mixing various things together with a plate of Kraft Dinner because you can't go wrong. Bon appetite!

Bill Bove
06-09-2004, 10:25 AM
One jar of Prego sauce. Stir in some ground beef, add a can of Hunt's tomato paste, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and a small jar of your favorite salsa. Every once in a while toss in some diced pineapple.

06-09-2004, 10:58 AM
Chopped yellow onion - sauted in 4 tbs of olive oil
FRESH tomatoes (3) (diced) (it only takes minute to chop them)
cook until tomatoes lose shape
add as much garlic as you can stand (3-4 cloves is average)
handfull of fresh basil leave chopped and added just before serving

serve with pasta of choice and inexpensive (<$10) italian wine.

Too Tall is correct, in that it is better to do final cooking of pasta in the sauce.

If you need protein, add some garbanzo's or cannelli beans to the sauce, or grill some chicken or fish and serve on the side.

A couple rules of thumb:
You really can't use too much olive oil or garlic
never let the garlic brown
the longer you let the tomatoes cook, the more concentrated the flavor
Never cook the basil
The more wine you drink, the more you will enjoy the meal

Now talk to me about paella!!

06-09-2004, 11:14 AM
Ronzoni is still the best dried pasta available in the US so I'd start there. This opinion has been confirmed a couple of times by comparisons in Cooks Magazine which accepts no advertising and seems to have taste similar to mine so it must be right.

All bottled sauces are abominations with too much sugar and other gunk to come anywhere close to real sauce.

Here is a longtime favorite of mine that is a heart healthy nightmare but somehow manages to achieve a great tomato flavor with canned tomatoes.

To serve 4 Americans or 8 Italians.

1 lb Perciatelli Pasta (no substitution allowed!)
4 slices of meaty salt pork, diced
1/4 - 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
salt to taste
Pecorino Romano Cheese

Start your water boiling in a 6qt pot and begin sauteing the diced salt pork in the olive oil with hot pepper flakes to taste. Use a saute pan large enough to accomodate the sauce and pasta combined. Cook the salt pork until some of the fat is rendered and it begins to crisp. Add the entire contents of the can of tomatoes to the salt pork and begin cooking your pasta. Reduce the tomotoes quickcly add salt if neccessary. When the pasta is nearly done drain and add to sauce for final cooking. Sauce should cling pasta with little or no liquid left in pan. Serve with grated Pecorina Romano cheese.

Too Tall
06-09-2004, 01:22 PM
Ozzd##d! I'll talk to you about Paella! I have this hankerin' to go to Spain and hang out during their annual outdoor Paella contests. Cooked over wood in big old steel pans....OMG. Hey, you MUST get an ounce of saffron from this wonderful guy in Calif. (http://www.saffron.com/cons_guide.html) It is the absolute finest stuff and I think it's inexpensive esp. compared to the useless 3rd rate saffron we buy at the grocery. I gave this to my sis. who lives in Paris (reads...COOKING SNOB) and she is in saffron heaven.

Ooops. I'm talking about food again.

06-09-2004, 01:27 PM
My usual pasta is the simple traditional spaghetti I learned from this artist Manuel in one of the Cinque Terre who was renting rooms.

Needs heavy frying pan with high sloping sides.

Fry a couple of cloves of garlic on medium heat in 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. While garlic is sizzling chop up a can of imported or california whole San Marzano tomatoes. Dump into fryer when garlic is blonde. Make sure tomato juice from can makes it in there. Add a ton of fresh basil. Simmer for like 25 minutes until most of the juice has evaporated. Add salt and fresh ground pepper. Bring water to boil 10 minutes before sauce is done. Add salt to water. Dump in a whole box of Barilla spaghetti. Forgot the width number, but it's just spaghetti, not spaghettini or something. BTW, Barilla is good enough for most families in Italy so it's good enough for me. Boil uncovered, rolling, for EXACTLY nine minutes if you're near sea level. Do not overcook. Strain spaghetti, and add to fryer with reduced sauce...mix well and cook remaining liquids out. Serve.

Very basic ingredients...fresh basil, ev olive oil, san marzano tomatoes, garlic, spaghetti and salt and pepper. It's ALL in the timing...too bland if the sauce isn't reduced enough (too watery) and too bland if you reduce it too much as you'll have not enough sauce...as far as i can tell this is the basic spaghetti that every italian knows how to make...

the other one i like is pasta a la carbonara, aka italian heart attack on a plate which involves frying pancetta (italian bacon), fresh parmesan, egg yolks, and making sure you keep the pancetta fat and tossing with al dente spaghetti. my friend francesca from bologna taught me that one but i don't make it too much...

06-09-2004, 01:58 PM
Okay. Dice up half a spanish onion, sautee it SLOWLY in olive oil over low heat in a saucepan until caramelized. Cover, and let simmer, but don't let it burn!

Take a pint of shiitake mushrooms (sans stems), a pint of oyster mushrooms, and maybe some fresh morels, slice them up, and coat lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a sheet pan and put them in your woodburning oven (What? You don't have a wood-burning oven?) Let them cook for about twenty minutes, then close up the oven for about five minutes so it smokes the mushrooms.

Take the mushrooms out and add them to the caramelized onions. Stir well. Add half a pint of crushed roma tomatoes, a few tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, and a handful of chiffonard of basil leaves. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and just a dash of red wine vinegar to wake things up.

Take the whole mixture and put it in your wood-burning oven, let it bake for about 20 minutes. Do the trick with the door on the oven to smoke the ragout. Now, your ragout is done!

Grate up a few ounces of reggiano parmesan (yeah, I know it's 20 bucks a pound, but it rocks!).

Cook your pasta. May I recommend De Cecco Linguine No. 6?

Drain the pasta, and add it to the saucepan that has your mushroom ragout. Stir it all together, mix in half of the reggiano, and spread it out on a dinner plate. A little ground black peppercorns, a few basil leaves as a garnish, and the rest of the reggiano. Only takes about an hour and a half to prepare! :-)

06-09-2004, 01:59 PM
Ozzd##d! I'll talk to you about Paella! I have this hankerin' to go to Spain and hang out during their annual outdoor Paella contests. Cooked over wood in big old steel pans....OMG. Hey, you MUST get an ounce of saffron from this wonderful guy in Calif. (http://www.saffron.com/cons_guide.html) It is the absolute finest stuff and I think it's inexpensive esp. compared to the useless 3rd rate saffron we buy at the grocery. I gave this to my sis. who lives in Paris (reads...COOKING SNOB) and she is in saffron heaven.

Ooops. I'm talking about food again.

Thanks for the link! Agreed, the stuff at grocery stores is c**p.

My guy (http://www.worldspice.com/) has been out for a couple weeks, and I'm aching for a fix! These folks (usually) have any spice you would want and are worth stopping by if you are in Seattle and near the Pike Place Market. It is just a couple blocks from where I work, so it is pretty easy to stop by and see what's new.

They also happen to be just down the street from "The Spanish Table" (http://www.spanishtable.com/)...for the rest of your paella accoutrements!

If you prefer to be served, here is a place to stop by when visiting Seattle: http://thescarletmacaw.com/harvest_vine.htm

"To know how to eat, is to know enough. - old basque saying

06-09-2004, 02:50 PM
Dammed if I know what this discussion is all about. My wife needs to start looking at this forum :D


06-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Whatever my wife is cooking.


06-09-2004, 09:25 PM
I know this will be blasphemy to many, but there is a "store bought" sauce that is pretty darned good. It is called Classico, and it comes in many flavors. I prefer the Tomato Basil, but some of the others aren't too bad. There is no sugar or corn syrup in the product and to my knowledge it is the only one of it's kind. Try it sometime when you're in a pinch for time, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Of course you can doctor it up if you like too.


06-09-2004, 11:30 PM
Classico is pretty good. You are correct Birdog.

if you want to cook something better and very easily try this.

In a large sauce pan saute two or three chopped garlic cloves, and a pinch of hot pepper flakes, in a fair amount of olive oil,( 3-4 tablespoons) then add to that a big can or chopped plum tomatoes, plus some salt. Don't burn the garlic or pepper! Cook for short while, or as long as you want. It can easily be done in 20 minutes.
Then cook your pasta till it's aldente and strain the macarone and add it too the sauce along with some chopped fresh basil leaves. cover and simmer till the pasta is perfect.

Only four ingredients, and less expensive that a jar of sauce and with much better flavor. And it's vegan, till you add all the fromaggio.

06-10-2004, 07:56 AM
In the winter I use good canned tomatoes, but during the summer I get them from farmers' markets. Simple sauce with basil is my fav. When I have the time and more people to eat it, I make fresh pappardelle with a duck ragu. Takes all day but well worth it. Not exactly a pre-race/ride meal though. My wife is Italian but I make a better sauce than her, as she readily admits. Though she made a curry/shrimp sauce with pasta the other day that was fantastico!

06-10-2004, 10:40 AM
To those who cook solely with fresh tomatoes - I've tried this and the sauce gets incredibly watery and requires long time to cook down. Is that what you guys do or do you prepare the tomatoes first to lower the water content?


06-10-2004, 12:21 PM
sauce from a jar" or "edible"?

It's a mystery why there isn't better sauce in a jar, given that (a) you can make perfectly good sauce with canned tomatoes, and (b) there is just a ton of competition in the market. Emeril? Good restaurants--entirely unexceptional sauce in a jar (you can do better in 15 minutes). Classico? Edible. Newman's? Edible.

Lots of options for sauce but my most common is simple as ... sauce. Saute chopped onion, carrott, and celery in olive oil for a couple of minutes or so. Add decent fresh or good canned tomatoes (the domestic "san marzano" ones are pretty good I think). Cook. Add salt. Add drained pasta, which you've avoided over-cooking. Done.

Options: you can add some garlic to the saute before you add the tomatoes; and/or you can add some basil at the end.

Too Tall
06-10-2004, 12:38 PM
My larder is always stocked with basic dry goods incl. a few jars of Classico or the Whole Foods house brand Marinara. Other "stuff" I am never without incl.: fresh garlic, onions, dry pasta, sardines, tuna....it's all part of being able to whip up din din on short notice and without alot of fuss or shopping.

Dang, I pretty much always use canned tomatos for sauce.

Anybody use a cast iron skillet to saute their leftover pasta? Mmmmmmm. A little olive oil, salt n' pepper a few capers. Dang!

So? It appears we as a whole can cook. No surprises here.

06-10-2004, 03:03 PM
To those who cook solely with fresh tomatoes - I've tried this and the sauce gets incredibly watery and requires long time to cook down. Is that what you guys do or do you prepare the tomatoes first to lower the water content?


A good sauce takes time. You can strain the tomatoes if need be or add tomato paste. Also, if the sauce gets too dry add alittle pasta water, the starch will keep it from getting watery.

06-10-2004, 03:19 PM
from the quick Arrabiata (spicy tomato with pancetta) or Puttanesca (don't ask where the name comes from ;) ) to long nursed ragus (a mix of beef and pork works best, I find), Pasta is a wonderful thing. I do not often make my own pasta, though I am trying to master the rolling pin method (no pasta machine) for making ultra light stuffed pasta shapes.

Too Tall --

I bet you would enjoy a Sardinian sauce with fresh sardines, wild fennel, golden raisins and saffron served over bucatini (thick hollowed out spaghetti). I'll try and locate the recipe.

As for fresh tomatoes -- When you can get good ones, then a little salt to draw out the juices and not stacking them too much helps a bit. Remeber, all tomato sauces work by evaporation, so spreading out the surface area will work wonders. I do not find it takes much longer to use fresh versus canned for any of my sauces.

:banana: :banana: :banana:

06-10-2004, 05:26 PM
use plum tomatoes with the seeds squeezed out. They have more meat and less water than other types.

06-10-2004, 05:30 PM
Let me know when you guys are done. I am going to print this whole thread out and create a pasta recipe book authored by Serotta forum members. I am serious! :cool:

06-10-2004, 06:30 PM
Tomato sauce is great, but still the best dish I ever had was flat egg noodles in olive oil with browned garlic slices and spinach, topped off with loads of romano. Simple, cheap and delicious.

06-10-2004, 07:52 PM
Here is one of my favorites which is a little twist on a pasta dish that has a good bite to it.

Sammi Yaki:

Combine & Marinate:
Lean steak or shrimp (chicken will work too) cut into thin strips.
Chopped Scallion
Chopped fresh garlic (however much you like)
Fresh Red Pepper (cut into match sized strips)
1/2 cup Soy Sauce (I prefer low sodium)
1/4 cup cooking sherry (red)
Let stand for at least an hour

In a seperate cup combine (pepper sauce):
2 tbls cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 or 2 cucumber, peel and cut in half. Then cut into finger thick sections (little thiner ok).

1 or 2 tomatoes (4 or 5 Roma's). cut into chunks.

Regular or whole wheat thin spaghetti.
You can also sustitute Soba, or Buckwheat Soba noodles for regular pasta.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a wok and heat up.
Drain the excess liquid and then pour the meat mixture into the wok and stir fry until done.

Cook the pasta until done. Drain and put back into the pot.
Mix the pepper sauce into the pasta and mix thoroughly.
Then mix in the cooked meat mixture.
Then lastly, mix in the cucumber and tomatos.

Sounds a bit different, but it's OH SO GOOD!


06-10-2004, 08:29 PM
its called GRAVY not sauce, sauce is something the french cooked up

H.Frank Beshear
06-10-2004, 08:50 PM
Take about 2 pounds tomatoes peel, seed, chop coarse. A good handful of your favorite herbs chopped with garlic to taste (I like to make my Dad and Brother back up in the morning :D ) Toss in a large bowl with salt and pepper. Add 8 ounces fresh mozzerella, or the semi dried in a twist kind ( my favorite). Heat 1/2 cup good olive oil in a small pan until smoking and pour over the tomatoes Toss. Cook pasta, noodles of what you have, drain add to tomatoes toss to blend cover with plate or bowl for 2 minutes. Serve with plenty of garlic toast to soak up the the sauce, and your pick of cheap red. By the way a new sharp vegetable peeler will peel tomatoes very well. Enjoy Frank

06-11-2004, 09:12 AM
from a couple of years back, where some of the crew go to Italy to do a little business. Their colleagues take them to a restaurant serving pasta made with squid ink and Paulie tries to order "gravy."