The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165215   Message #3999764
Posted By: Steve Shaw
07-Jul-19 - 09:43 PM
Thread Name: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
I cook a good number of Italian dishes these days. I can't be bothered with a pasta machine so I buy dried pasta. I've found that the bronze-die pasta, especially from Gragnano in Campania, is by far the best (try Tesco!). There are some unwritten rules. First, garlic and onions shouldn't be in the same dish. Mostly, it's onion that is left out. Second, pasta dishes don't need half as much sauce as some Brits think. Third, pasta sauces from jars are invariably way too claggy. Too much onion and tomato. It's so bloody easy to make your own! Fourth, no parmesan with fish, ever. Fifth, do not use a garlic crusher. Use more garlic but slice it up. Even better, use four times as much but just smash the peeled cloves with your fist. Sixth, don't bother skinning tomatoes. If the skin bothers you, just cut the toms up first. But tinned plum tomatoes are brilliant anyway. Seventh, any dish that contains any amount of tomatoes is infinitely improved by the addition of half a teaspoon of sugar. Eighth, ignore the idiots who tell you not to cook with extra virgin olive oil. Use it but just don't let it smoke. Any other oils are simply inferior. Ninth, never use dried basil. Vile. Dried oregano is fine, especially on pizzas. Most Italians use far less herbs than you'd think. We spent a week in Puglia, eating at superb restaurants in Lecce, and hardly whiffed a herb all week. Tenth, any pasta dish is improved in the serving with a goodly drizzle of your best olive oil on top. Eleventh, parmesan absolutely must be freshly grated on top of the dish. No need to give anyone any choice here. Twelfth, there is no such dish as spaghetti bolognese. Use tagliatelle or pappardelle or fettuccini instead, and. mix the sauce with the pasta. A pile of pasta with a puddle of sauce on top is just risible. Last, always conserve a cupful of pasta water. More often then not your sauce will be too dry/thick. The pasta water is used to thin the sauce to the correct consistency.