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Cooking pasta in the sauce


Shalmanese
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Occasionally, I will create a dish in which I cook pasta directly in the sauce. The sauce is usually pretty brothy to start out with but the starch from the pasta converts it into a rich, creamy sauce. It's a technique that I've never seen in a recipe book or described anywhere but it makes a lot of sense to me.

Does anyone else do this? What are some great applications?

PS: I am a guy.

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A common way this is done in Liguria, popularized by Alain Ducasse, is a little like risotto, where a sauce is built up around the cooking pasta and absorbs the sauce. The pasta absorbs a lot of sauce, not just water, so the dish is more integrally connected -- sometimes a good thing, sometimes not. So your technique does make a lot of sense.

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That's the technique I use for my stove top chicken and macaroni; poach the cut up chicken in water with poultry seasoning, a good lot of garlic (I blush to admit that I used granulated garlic for this, but it was invented when I lived in a van, and cooked on a 2 burner gas Coleman stove...) salt and pepper. (I MADE space for a pepper grinder :smile: )Brown the chicken a bit in a nice chunk of butter, in a deep pot big enough to simmer in, season well with the goodies and add enough water to roughly cover and then some. When chicken is done, dump in a half pound of elbow macaroni and cook until tender. There should be not much broth left in the pot, and macaroni will be coated in a buttery, sticky, chicken-fatty glaze.

Serve with something green, if you must, or sliced tomatoes. NOT gourmet, but damn tasty! :raz:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Many years ago when the children were young and we tent camped, one of our camping recipes was 'One Pot Spaghetti' where the pasta was cooked directly in the pasta sauce with onions. Definitely resulted in a very paste like tasting dish that was definitely "sturdy" to say the least. None of us minded when it no longer made the rotation.

Kay

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For what its worth, I just did this in the pressure cooker for the first time. The idea of cooking pasta in the pressure cooker seemed so bizarre to me, but I figured I'd give it a try. basically the idea is you add 1/2 cup of water for every 4 ounces of pasta, along with adding crushed tomatoes and herbs and seasonings that will make up the sauce. Damned if it didn't turn out really well, and most shocking to me, the pasta was cooked perfectly! Not mushy in the least!

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... macaroni will be coated in a buttery, sticky, chicken-fatty glaze...

Sounds good !

I've not made ravioli in brodo that many times, but in the book I've mentioned before, published in Italy by Bonechi, The Delights of Good Italian Cooking, ed. Paolo Piazzesi, the recipe for Anolini in brodo says "boil them in a light broth of chicken or beef, as the housewives in Parma and Piacenza do. Serve with lashings of grated parmesan cheese"; and the Pastina in Brodo is small-shape pasta served in the strained beef-and-mirepoix broth it's been boiled in. Use the leftover meat in rissoles, it says. And "It is a known fact that, to extract all the flavour into the broth, the meat must be put into cold water which is then brought to the boil. Hot water, on the contrary, would seal in the juices. So, when we want a good plate of boiled meat, the water is heated first of all". so, err... there's that. A known fact, as opposed to an unknown one.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Asian cooking does this often, and one could say lasagna is done the same way (in a way). But your sauce has to be pretty liquid, I'd be curious to read some recipes Shalmanese! I can't see making a tomato sauce that liquid, but I'm intrigued...

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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When I put pasta in soup, I usually just cook it in the soup instead of cooking it separately. The thing is, it usually takes much longer to cook the pasta in soup instead in a pot of water. I'm really not sure why.

This reminded me of Rachel Ray cooking pasta in wine on Iron Chef. Like her or not, that sounds interesting.

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This reminded me of Rachel Ray cooking pasta in wine on Iron Chef. Like her or not, that sounds interesting.

I was looking at a recipe like that last night, in Rozanne Gold's cookbook, Radically Simple. Sometimes it's called "drunken pasta." It's intriguing. The recipe says to boil 1 lb pasta in 1 bottle dry white wine, 2 cups water, and 1 tsp salt. The wine is supposed to cook down to form a glaze on the pasta.

ETA: There are recipes for red wine "drunken pasta" online. The red wine pasta is supposed to be an attractive pink color and fruity-tasting.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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This reminded me of Rachel Ray cooking pasta in wine on Iron Chef. Like her or not, that sounds interesting.

I was looking at a recipe like that last night, in Rozanne Gold's cookbook, Radically Simple. Sometimes it's called "drunken pasta." It's intriguing. The recipe says to boil 1 lb pasta in 1 bottle dry white wine, 2 cups water, and 1 tsp salt. The wine is supposed to cook down to form a glaze on the pasta.

I tried this recipe last night with a bottle of dry white wine and 1 lb penne, and I don't recommend it. Because there's less water or less liquid overall, compared to conventional pasta cooking, the pasta turned out gummy and unpalatable. That's my guess as to cause and effect, anyway. In Gold's recipe, you're also supposed to cook the pasta at a simmer for 20 mins. That slow cooking contributes to the gumminess too.

The next step would be to cook the pasta with more wine and more water, at a normal boil. But that's an experiment for another day.

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it usually takes much longer to cook the pasta in soup instead in a pot of water. I'm really not sure why.

That's been my experience too. I wonder whether the sauce is saltier than salted water for pasta is. And I also wonder whether I'm just not keeping the broth at the same rolling boil that I would use for pasta cooked in water. But I assume this does have something to do with the paucity of good "one pot" recipes.

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Ideas in Food "the book" has a very interesting technique where you first hydrate your pasta in a bowl (or Bag) on the counter for a couple hours before finishing cooking in the sauce.

The pasta then cooks in just minutes (in the sauce usually) and comes out with a very interesting and uniform "al dente" tooth to it.

I followed the technique and made the Mac 'n Cheese recipe, and it is now my go to recipe (until my Modernist Cuisine arrives).

There are also several other applications of this technique where you can replace the water with other liquids to flavor the pasta. I have not tried this yet but am very excited to do so.

THey have also recommended doing this "Hydration" technique with Arborio rice to eliminate the stirring for Risotto.

Mike

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Occasionally, I will create a dish in which I cook pasta directly in the sauce. The sauce is usually pretty brothy to start out with but the starch from the pasta converts it into a rich, creamy sauce. It's a technique that I've never seen in a recipe book or described anywhere but it makes a lot of sense to me.

Does anyone else do this? What are some great applications?

I do this, but i will usually parboil the pasta for about 5 minutes, then transfer it to the sauce with a slotted spoon, and continue cooking until its done (and maybe add a little pasta cooking water when it gets too dry). I like this for very simple sauces made with high quality ingredients, because it creates a nice union between pasta and the other stuff.

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Cooking starchy and thick sauce in a pressure cooker is asking for trouble.

dcarch

I'm sorry you had a bad experience dcarch! My understanding from reading several current pressure cooker cookbooks is that as long as you add enough water in addition to the sauce ingredients, this should be plenty safe. I was surprised at how little water was required (in addition to the thick crushed tomatoes in puree) to cook my pasta perfectly -- I think I used 8 ounces of pasta and a cup of water, in addition to maybe 2 cups of pureed tomatoes...

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Here is a quote from some place:

"Avoid cooking foods that froth. The frothing can block the steam valves and the pressure release vents. Foods that froth include pasta, rhubarb, split peas, oatmeal, applesauce and cranberries. If you do want to cook these foods, follow a trusted recipe and make sure that the quantity in the pot is well below the recommended maximum fill line. "

What is curious to me is how infrequently advices were given without the mentioning of another very important factor, namely the heat applied.

It is good that lots of liquid and not filling the cooker to the top is followed, but if you set the fire high, it is a guaranteed problem situation.

It is easy to forget that you have set the fire high to get the pressure going sooner and not turning the fire down.

dcarch

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"For what its worth, I just did this in the pressure cooker for the first time. The idea of cooking pasta in the pressure cooker seemed so bizarre to me, but I figured I'd give it a try. basically the idea is you add 1/2 cup of water for every 4 ounces of pasta, along with adding crushed tomatoes and herbs and seasonings that will make up the sauce. Damned if it didn't turn out really well, and most shocking to me, the pasta was cooked perfectly! Not mushy in the least! "

How long in the pressure Cooker. Natural release or water release??

I have to try this. Would never thought of it!!!!

alanjesq

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Putting aside dishes cooked "in brodo", the concept of cooking the pasta in the sauce seems counter to what most of Italian pastas are all about - pasta with a small to moderate amount of sauce, plus would seem to require an inordinate amount of sauce to cook the pasta in.

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