Food / Drink ...
Not too long ago, I stumbled across a NY Times article about how to cook pasta like risotto rice. Instead of drowning the pasta in a quart of boiling water, the idea is to let the pasta continually simmer with just a small amount of water at the bottom of the pot, while frequently adding new liquid to replace what the pasta absorbs and what steams away.
This is also known as the absorption method of cooking pasta. The advantage of “absorption” is you can add and cook other stuff along with the pasta, such that when you’re done after 15 minutes or so, the whole thing reduces to a sauce (at least if you do it right). In other words, you don’t simply have plain cooked pasta, you have pasta and sauce right there in the pot, ready for the plate! The added stuff can include meat or broth, but being a veg-head, I add veggies and spices and a touch of olive oil.
So here is what it looks like in my kitchen. I’m cooking fusili with some fresh chopped tomato, onion, garlic, green pepper, shaved carrot, and a bit of basil, oregano and olive oil. The veggies boil down and mix with the starch from the pasta, making a rich sauce that nicely coats the pasta.
On my plate, then, is the coated fusilli with a dollop of veggie-marinara sauce at the center, along with some sauteed zucchini and mushrooms (top left) and kale, red cabbage, garlic and cranberry beans (bottom left). This all went down very nicely with a glass of red zinfandel. I’m looking forward to some interesting one-pot sauce experiments in the future, such as butternut squash (or even pie pumpkin) with pasta. Bon appetite!
PS, this way of preparing pasta works best with “chunky” pastas like penne, rigatoni, fusilli, shells, bow ties, etc. Long thin pasta like fettuccine and linguini (and good old spaghetti) tend to bind together into hard, thick strands when cooked this way.