Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tips for Quick Pastas

Pasta is always a great quick dinner. Here are some tips to make it even quicker.

  • Since gluten-free pasta is not readily available, make sure that you buy several shapes and kinds of gf pasta when you find it. Always try to keep your pantry stocked with spaghetti, fettucine, penne & spiral pasta.
  • Before you start cooking, select ingredients that do not require much preparation. Examples of good, quick complimenting ingredients: canned tomatoes, ground beef, ground pork, fresh herbs, pre-chopped garlic, heavy cream, chicken stock, red wine.
  • Before you begin, place a large stockpot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil. If it comes to a boil before you are ready to cook your pasta, keep the stockpot covered and reduce the heat to low. The water will stay hot and will return to a boil very quickly when the heat is increased.
  • Cook the ingredients that need to be blanched in the boiling pasta water. Remove them with a slotted spoon before you add the pasta. This will not only speed things up but it also adds flavor and nutrients to the water.
  • If you choose to use fresh garlic (highly recommended) smash the cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife, then remove the skins. Cut shallots and onions in half lengthwise, then trim the ends and peel of the skins.
  • If you have to roast peppers for another recipe, roast 1 or 2 extra. It takes the same amount of time and they will keep for at least 1 week covered in the refrigerator. They make a wonderful addition to cream sauces or pasta stir fry’s

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