Friday, February 18, 2011

Cooking Pasta

Breakfast at work frequently consists of a big plate of pasta, consumed with spinach or mushrooms or whatever might be available in the walk-in, plus at least four cloves of garlic.  (Generally breakfast production is my job, believe it or not.)  Recently Kevin heard something on the radio about a more efficient method of cooking dry pasta: to start it in a small amount of cold water!  Not what the box recommends...instead, you use two quarts of cold water for each pound of pasta.  You put the cold water in the pan (for long pasta you have to use a big rondeau, so you can lay the spaghetti or what ever flat in the bottom) along with the pasta and a teaspoon or two of salt.  Bring the whole thing to a boil and cook it for about the same amount of time you do normally.  The difference is that the water takes a lot less time to come to a boil, so the process is shorter, and you are left with a nice concentrated "pasta stock" with which to sauce your dish.  Cool.
This is 8 ounces of pasta in 1 quart of water with 2 tsp. of salt.

It starts to boil in maybe 6 or 7 minutes.  You have to stir the pasta a bit to keep it from sticking together.
As it boils, for another 8 or 10 minutes depending on the pasta, the water evaporates and concentrates.

Meanwhile, the sauteed broccoli and garlic await.

And there you have it, breakfast is ready.  I think it's amazing that by 8AM we have already consumed most of the recommended daily 4 to 5 cups of fruit and vegetables, when you include the banana or orange we start out with.  This may not be your typical break fast, but in our world, it's what keeps us going for the rest of the day.

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