Post # 68 Spaghetti in Error

November 7, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 68 Spaghetti in Error

I was up late with the election returns and may I just say “Woo Hoo!!”?  Okay, out of my system.

I’m reposting an item from my other food blog which I stopped writing when I started this one.  If anyone is interested in that one, let me know and I’ll send the link, but there’s no information there that isn’t here.

I’m a big fan of easy.  The easier it is to put supper on the table, the better I like it.  That’s not to say I don’t like taste and flavor.  I like easy, but it’s more important that it be good.  Microwaves, when they first hit the scene, were incredibly easy.  However, they couldn’t match the flavor of ordinary cooking methods for many things, and most things just weren’t good.  I find one of the easiest things to make is spaghetti.  You can go for quick and easy, or slow and easy, and it all tastes wonderful.  Back in my younger days, when I was first learning by trial and error, I used to put my spaghetti sauce in a slow cooker and leave for a couple of days.  The flavors mellowed and the sauce thickened and it was a real delight.  I no longer have two days to make something.  My mom used to make spaghetti sauce by picking tomatoes from the garden and going from there.  I don’t do that either.  My sister showed me a simple and tasty way to make a quick sauce, and I stumbled across another when I was learning to use my juicer, another fad that went away quickly.

Now, I make spaghetti sauce in just a couple of hours.  It blends the quick and easy with the slow cooked and mellow flavors that I like.  It’s versatile enough that it can be used for a multitude of recipes so I usually freeze some for later.  It goes like this:

Brown a pound of hamburger in a large pot.  Drain as much fat as you can.  Add chopped fresh onion and garlic and let it sweat for a few minutes in the hamburger until it’s starting to turn clear.  Add a tablespoon of Italian seasoning mix, plus an extra teaspoon of oregano.  Stir those together for about thirty seconds, then add two cans of diced tomato, one can of tomato sauce, and one small can of tomato paste.  Stir to mix and add three cups of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat so the sauce simmers.  Stir occasionally and adjust the heat to keep the sauce simmering.  The water will steam out of the sauce, cooking the rest of the sauce and creating a wonderful tasting, slightly thick big pot of spaghetti sauce.  Boil up your favorite pasta, pour sauce over it and mix.  Add parmesan cheese if you like and eat up.  It’s good stuff.

Alternatively, you can start with a jar of premade sauce and add the rest.  You can also omit the hamburger, or add various other meats and/or vegetables.  I love mushrooms but no one else in my family does so I seldom add them.  But you can.

You may be wondering now why I called this Spaghetti in Error.  Well, I’ll tell you!  It’s because once I made spaghetti so bad, I had to throw it away.  I followed my normal sauce routine and had a pot of delicious sauce.  One thing that happens to me a lot is a put pasta on a plate and put sauce on top and the water hasn’t drained from the pasta completely so I get this soupy tomato-y slop at the bottom and really good sauce on top.  I don’t like that.  So I got to wondering what would happen if I cooked the pasta in the sauce itself.  I was hoping that the pasta would pick up the flavor of the sauce and the sauce would stick to the pasta in nice clingy clumps.

So I reasoned it out with what I know about pasta.  I know that to cook pasta, the water has to be boiling so I made certain that the sauce was bubbling away.  I know that pasta should cook quickly so I decided to use a thin pasta, angel hair for fast cook time.  I also didn’t want the pasta to sit out of the sauce as the bottom portion cooked, so I broke it in half.  I tossed the pasta into the sauce to start the grand experiment.

The pasta turned to glue.  The sauce turned pink and lost all its flavor.  The sauce then turned glue while the pasta turned to mush.  We tried to eat it, but it was a losing proposition.  A good idea that failed.

Turns out that pasta has a lot of starch in it.  The reason you cook pasta in a lot of water is so the starch will cook away.  It keeps the pasta from sticking to itself.  You drain the water from the pasta to get rid of the starch, but some needs to stay behind to help bind the sauce.

So trying to cook your pasta in the sauce is a bad idea.  Having said that, I do know that cooking your pasta in water only half way, then adding to sauce and baking or further cooking enhances it.  So I may try that at some time.

Or maybe not.

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