Thursday, 4 December 2008

How To Make Pasta

I guess how I made Pasta would be a more appropriate title for this post! Anyways, here it goes...

I was having a small get-together, a kind of mini kitty party a few days back and I decided to make pasta (with sauce and all of course). For some unknown reason (after all I had never tried to make pasta before), I decided it was the easiest thing to prepare. So, I went about shopping the evening before.

Ingredients

I picked up the best-looking packet of macaroni, a can of baked beans, a tinned mushroom, a tin of tomato puree. Then I looked at the cheese available and found just the right thing, a packet of grated cheese. See, I had done my research on the net. I had found a dozen recipe of pasta. Its another matter that none of them advised putting all these stuff together. I also picked up bottles of garlic salt and white pepper.

Just as I was leaving, I was suddenly assailed by doubts (a rare thing, but there…) I got a packet of noodles and some perfectly cut frozen vegetables as well as a bottle of soya sauce – to make noodles if worse came to worst!

I started my pasta at midnight after bundling off the kids to bed, the party being scheduled for the morning.

Cooking The Perfect Pasta

As per instructions on the net, I would need 5 liters of water to boil 500g of Pasta. I found my biggest pan could hold just 3 litres. I made do. The water had to boil first. That went fine. Then sidle in the macaroni into the boiling water. Yes, please don’t throw it in, the water’s boiling, the pan’s full, just coax in the pasta, unless you have a preference for getting scalded! Keep mixing it, so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom. One really has to be careful. The best instruction I found online said that, take a bite and remove the pasta just when you feel the softness is as you would like to eat it. There is some philosophy somewhere here. So many things in life are that simple!

I removed and drained the the macaroni onto a colander. I kept aside some of the liquid to use in the sauce. You will find there is very little liquid left when 500gms pasta is boiled in 3 ltrs of water!

Pasta Sauce

Next step was to prepare the pasta sauce. I put two tbs of butter into a pan, then scraped some garlic cloves into the pan. Then I sprinked garlic salt and white pepper. I added the mushrooms from the can (drained), then emptied a 200 gm tin of tomato puree. The paste seemed to be very very thick. So I added the reserve water I had kept aside and let the mixture simmer. It was a real pungent taste. I realized too late that the tomato puree was really thick and just 3-4 spoons would have sufficed. So I had to keep on adding water to get the right consistency! So I had a huge pan full of pasta sauce. I made some white sauce next. I am not going to describe the process. Oh, well. I boiled some milk (200 ml), added some butter and mixed in 2 tsp of white flour. Is that white sauce? Well, I always prepare it that way…

Final Dressing

Now for the finale. I mashed 3 medium sized potoes which I had previously boiled. I brought out my largest casserole (I was not really prepared for the huge quantity). Then I poured in the macaroni. Added the mashed potatoes, the baked beans (with the juice), the white sauce. The pasta was still dry. I added the sauce I had prepared. I realized I needed just one-fifth of the prepared quantity! But I strained out all the mushroom from the sauce to add to the pasta. I mixed in all the contents, cooled it and stored it away. I entire process lasted one and half hours, including preparation time.

Just before serving the next day, I took out the amount needed onto another much smaller carsserole, sprinkled the grated parmesan cheese on top and heat it in the microwave till the cheese melted.

So there, I had my pasta ready (so what if we all had to eat pasta for 3 days!) and it really, surprisingly tasted good!

Try it, and tell me the results! Just remember 500 gm pasta would maybe feed around 15 persons as a snack, and my party was just for 5 people.

And now the family has started on the noodles (remember the packet I got as back-up)!!! But that recipe is another story.