Preparing Pasta Like Momma Did!

By: kashmiri lal

Like rice, pasta is a very versatile food and can be used in recipes and meals in many different ways. Pasta is a carbohydrate and is a great food to fill you up and give you energy. Here are some tips on how to cook and serve pasta:-

1. Boiling pasta – Packet dried pasta is very easy to cook. Check the packet to see the recommended amount of pasta per person, usually about 100g, and place in a large saucepan. Boil some water in your kettle and pour over the pasta, enough to cover and a bit more because many types of pasta double in size as they cook. Add a little salt and a dash of olive oil, to help stop the pasta sticking together, and bring the water back to the boil. Boil for 7-12 minutes according to the instructions on the packet. Stir regularly to prevent pasta sticking to the pan and serve once it is al dente – soft but has a bit of bite. Drain in a colander or sieve and serve.

If you are going to be using the pasta in a salad, drain and rinse the pasta to remove the sticky starch.

2. Fresh pasta – Packet fresh pasta can be found in the refrigerated sections of many supermarkets and is quick to cook because it hasn't been dried. Stuffed tortellini or ravioli pastas are delicious served with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan for a quick meal ready in five minutes. Many supermarkets also have chilled, ready made sauces to serve with pasta.

3. Pasta Salad – Tuna pasta salad is a traditional and great tasting pasta salad to serve at BBQs on balmy summer evenings. Simply boil some pasta twirls or shells until cooked, cool and then chill. Mix a can of tuna and some canned sweetcorn into the pasta and then add some crushed garlic and some chopped spring onions. Make a dressing out of English mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise and stir into the pasta salad. Season and add herbs if you wish. This recipe is also great with roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
Look for pasta salad recipes online and experiment with different dressings and condiments such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce and chutneys.

4. Lasagne – Make a simple lasagne by using precooked lasagne sheets which do not need boiling before use. Layer in a rectangular deep dish with a bolognese sauce and a cheese sauce for a traditional “Ragu” lasagne. For lasagne with a twist, replace the bolognese sauce with a mushroom sauce or a chicken supreme sauce – look for ideas online.

5. Pasta desserts – There are traditional pasta puddings like macaroni pudding, which is a baked macaroni milk pudding, but there are also modern pasta puddings. How about making a sweet lasagne? Layer cooked apples or apple puree with lasagne sheets and ricotta cheese or use cherry pie filling or mashed banana – delicious. Search online for other pasta dessert recipes and stun guests at dinner parties with your creativity.
If you want to make a traditional macaroni pudding, boil a cup of macaroni in water, beat together 3 eggs, 600ml of milk, a tablespoon of granulated sugar, a dash of vanilla and a little nutmeg (freshly grated or dried), mix the cooked macaroni with the egg and milk mixture and pour into an ovenproof dish. Bake on a low heat (approximately 150 degrees Celsius) for half an hour. Serve and enjoy.

6. Homemade Pasta – There are many recipes online for how to make your own pasta dough to make your very own pasta. It is possible to buy pasta machines which press your pasta and cut it into sheets, ravioli squares or into linguine or spaghetti. Making homemade pasta is fun so give it a try.

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