Thursday, March 6, 2008

Viva La Pasta!

The joy that a good bowl of pasta brings can sometimes be beyond the English language or any other language for that matter. In an attempt to reclaim said joyful bowl of carbohydrate filled delight I resorted to a recipe, a family friend (Jo Marie) shared with me quite a few years ago - Tomato & Brie Pasta. Yes folks, there's a good ol' fashioned block of brie in this dish and it's smoothy creaminess lends itself to speechless "ooohhhs" and "aaaahs". Just a few basic ingredients for this sauce is all that is required - some fresh tomatoes, lots of extra virgin olive oil, minced/chopped garlic, salt, pepper, red chili pepper flakes, toasted pine nuts, a block of brie cheese (remove the rind) and lots (and I say LOTS) of fresh basil, chiffonade style baby. Voila, a pasta to die for is born.

Now I made this pasta following the night of a "cooking" class I attended (not taught), though it was more like a demonstration, focused on the secret ingredient of pasta. Without divulging too much negative energy or chalking it up to food snobbery, I must remind you all of the three cardinal culinary sins involving the use of pasta.
1. NEVER EVER ADD OIL TO YOUR PASTA WATER - Yes folks, it's a myth but adding oil to your water does not help your pasta nor does it reduce the chance of your pasta sticking together. In fact the only thing you should be adding to your water is salt and lots of it.
2. ALWAYS SALT YOUR SAUCE - Now I understand if you have serious health issues involving sodium why you would choose not to salt your food, but when you are cooking, salt is essential to bringing out the best flavors of all your ingredients, as well as balancing out flavors.
3. NEVER EVER EVER EVER RUN YOUR COOKED PASTA UNDER COLD WATER - what happens when you commit this cardinal culinary sin??? You rinse off all the good starches in your pasta - these starches help bind the sauce to the pasta. Rinsing your pasta in cold water is basically a recipe for pasta soup. I digress.
Anyhow, after this demonstration, I really needed a "pasta boost" - something to rekindle my love for pasta and I could think of no better way than to pull out Jo Marie's recipe and step to it!


  1. didn't you make this for KaBOOKi one time at your house? I think so!! I remember it..

  2. charleen must be rolling her eyes in heaven!!!! not rinse pasta?? she was in SUCH a state, the first time we came over for dinner. she realized half-way through she didn't rinse the pasta and she just about had a nervous breakdown. i had never even HEARD that one did that to pasta before adding the sauce! hahaha. culinary genuis that i am..... and now you say you're not even supposed to do that?? i guess you are never too old to learn something, eh??