Friday, October 9, 2009

Cooking: Homemade Tomato sauce and pasta

So, I learned a few things yesterday about cooking.

  • You really need to look closely when someone leaves a note that says "1/2 the recipe" and adjust the ingredients accordingly.
  • Home grown tomatoes and herbs just taste so much better than store-bought stuff. I will really miss these in a week or two.
  • I'm close to being sick of eating stuff with tomatoes. So maybe it balances out.
  • A garlic clove is a deceptively vague unit of measure, because cloves vary wildly in size. The recipe I made was apparently intended to repel vampires. I halved the amount of garlic and it was still a bit heavy for my taste.
  • When you toast pine nuts, recognize that they cook incredibly quickly, even on low heat. You can't turn away for, say, 30 seconds to check something at the sink. Or you'll burn a few of them.
  • Don't skimp on the quality of the olive oil--good olive oil is SO much better than cheap olive oil. I haven't noticed this with stuff like canola oil or corn oil. I used good olive oil and it showed.
  • If you reserve half a cup or so of the water that you cooked the pasta with, you can add it to a thinner sauce and thicken it (with the starch washed off the pasta) while adding complementary flavor. In theory. Because I drained the pasta before I forgot.
The result was still pretty good. I think I would have paid a bit more attention if the sauce had some meat in it, because I would have been more excited about the meal. Pasta is pretty simple in many ways, but there are little tricks I'm still learning. And sauces have a lot of room for mistakes to be made.

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