Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last time we got the ingredients, now it's time to put them together..

Step 3 - Give 'er!
1) Meat: If you're doing shrimp or scallops, thaw them quickly using the strainer and lukewarm water. They don't need to be completely thawed, but if you have to peel the shrimp, they should be. Set aside. 
2) Garlic: mincing garlic is one of my favourite activities, I find it therapeutic. You might find it annoying. If so, invest in a garlic press. Or buy those pre-chopped garlic dealies,  check the grocery store.
3) Veggies: chop your veg into whatever size you like best. Just remember that the smaller you chop, the faster they cook. I like my veggies firm, so I usually go no smaller than approx 1 cm width. When chopping tomatoes, make sure you keep as much juice as possible. Put them in a separate bowl. Onions can be chopped as fine as possible because they're going to flavour the sauce rather than stand on their own. 
First, you need to get a pot of water on the stovetop. Add a splash of oil to the water to keep the pasta from sticking. Get it boiling. 
While the water heats up, put the frying pan on medium-high heat, add a splash of oil (about 2 tbsp) and heat it (this takes about 2 minutes) 
Add chopped garlic and sauté (get it a little brown, but no more or it'll be bitter) 
Your water should be boiling, so add your pasta; about 1/6 to 1/4 of a 900 g package. I usually break it in half when using linguine, it cooks faster, easier and is easier to get on the fork. 
Reduce heat in the frying pan to medium. Add the rest of your ingredients (including wine if using) and mix it all up. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes, until everything is cooked through. 
Strain your pasta (check it to see if it's tender. I like it a little mushier than 'al dente', which means firm, but al dente is the way most of the high falutin' cooks like it. 
If you're feeling skillful, add the pasta to the sauce in the pan and toss it all together by using a flipping motion with the pan. Or, use a spatula or wooden spoon and mix everything together that way. 
Serve the lot on a plate or bowl and top with all that neat stuff I mentioned earlier. 
There ya go, crack a beer or fetch some vino, or a glass of water, or whatever. Park yer arse in front of the tube and snarf away! Then, do this all over again for your lady friend or gentleman caller (but do not snarf in their presence. Not good.)
Dude, you just cooked! 

Next time: stir-fry made dead easy 

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