Limp Noodles and Corporal Punishment OR Why I Shouldn’t Blog When I’m Tired
DISCLAIMER: NO HUMANS, DOGS, STUFFED MONKEYS OR CHILDREN WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING THIS BLOG. (With a disclaimer like that….you want to keep reading…right?)
What do you do when you are tired? Do you curl up on the couch and watch TV? Maybe you check out of life with a book on a hammock in your backyard? Some folks have even been known to catch a few “z’s” just to recharge.
Not me. When I’m tired, I think I should write a blogpost. Not a good blogpost…but a blogpost that makes sense as I’m typing but when I look back…I think to myself “Don’t write when you are tired…you sound insane.”
Most of these posts never see their way to Felt Like a Foodie but the following paragraphs are proof that you should never type when your mind isn’t clear.
Apparently, sitting behind a keyboard should come with a warning label, as should the rest of this blog. So here goes my thought process when I’m tired………..
I think my life would be easier if I could incorporate corporal punishment into my life. (Or maybe anger management classes?) I’m not talking about anything big like flogging, caning or spanking. (Was that redundant? Are all of those the same thing?)
My form of corporal punishment would be simple….a whack with an al dente noodle.
I would make sure my noodle is tough enough to leave a mark and yet not break in half or the skin. (Why have I given this so much thought?) I want the noodle to be undercooked enough that I can smack you with it, toss it back in the pan and finish it in a nice tomato sauce. (Ahhhh, now I see where I was going.)
Do you ever finish your pasta in the sauce? It will be worth the pain! (Seriously, this is nuts….I’m in not in denial…maybe a little denial….I need sleep…and therapy….and maybe another English class or two….)
I went to a cool cooking demonstration the other week and one of the chefs finished cooking her pasta in the sauce. I’ve seen this done before but honestly hadn’t tried it home.
Pulling a partially cooked noodle out of the water before it is done is scary to me. (Sort of like a blogger who uses a segue of corporal punishment to talk about cooking pasta!) I’m always afraid that it won’t finish cooking and no one wants to crunch down on a noodle. (Unless it is supposed to be crunchy noodle but that doesn’t sound appetizing and it sounds like something amoxicillin would cure.)
There is a secret to making this work…save some pasta water. (Yes, it is a little salty and starchy but trust me this will work.)
Take your undercooked noodle and immediately add it to your pasta sauce. (Don’t rinse it!!!) Pour in a little of your pasta water. The pasta will continue cooking as it absorbs the sauce. The starchiness in the water will thicken the sauce too.
After about 1 minute, test a noodle. (Don’t toss it against a wall because it is now full of sauce and you’ll make a mess!!) Take a bite. If it isn’t done yet…add a little more water.
This time start checking after every 20-30 seconds. After each interval, add a little more water and keep tasting. The sauce is hot as is the water so the pasta will keep cooking. (If you don’t use all the water…that is okay.)
I made a simple sauce with some sundried tomatoes and tossed in undercooked bucatini (the fat spaghetti with the hole down the center.) The resulting dish was probably one of the best bowls of pasta I’ve ever had. (If not….you can whack me with a bucatini noodle!!!)
Sundried Tomato Bucatini
6 ounces of bucatini
7 ounces of oil packed sundried tomatoes, drained
1 small bunch of parsley
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1+ cups of pasta water
Salt and pepper
Garnish: Seasoned bread crumbs (I made a Puttanesca breadcrumb that I learned from a Iron Chef Gauntlet Demo….I might have to blog on those too but I didn’t think the chef I learned it from would want to be associated with this particular post)
Cook pasta in a large pot of water. (If you salt your water super heavy, you might want to lighten up a little. You don’t want to over power your sauce.)
Remember you don’t want to cook the pasta all the way. Set your timer for a minute or two UNDER the recommended time and remember to taste it.)
Meanwhile, pulse your drained tomatoes and parsley in a food processor.
In a large sauté pan, add a swirl of olive oil over medium heat.
Cook the garlic for a minute or so. You want it just soft but not brown at all.
Add the pureed sundried tomatoes.
Remember to test your pasta. It will probably be done by now.
Reserve a cup or more of the water and set it aside.
Drain your pasta and IMMEDIATELY add it to the sauce on the stove.
Gently stir it in.
Now this is where you add a little water. Cook another minute…taste. Is it done? STOP. If not, add a little more water, cook 20-30 seconds this time. Taste.
The key is to stop before the pasta is over cooked or you run out of water.
It is really kind of a simple way to get your pasta coated restaurant style and not have a pool of sauce leftover in the bottom of your bowl. (I say that like it is a bad thing…..it really isn’t…if you have bread…or a finger to swipe it up.)
Twirl some into your serving dishes and top with some breadcrumbs.
This is recipe that is perfect for an afternoon when you are too tired to think….and need a nap!!