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Old 09-22-2004, 02:42 PM   #21
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mudbug, Stouffer's does have some meals really nailed! Sherrie loves the Chicken in Peanut Sauce. She would kill for it, I wouldn't go that far, but it is quite good. There are always a few Stouffer's in the freezer for those days when popping one in the micro is the most energetic anyone can get.

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Old 09-22-2004, 02:58 PM   #22
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Good ole Stouffer's - we buy in bulk when it's on sale. Like you said, good for what we call the "veg' nights (as in "veg out"). Will have to try the chicken in peanut sauce one.

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Old 10-23-2004, 11:25 PM   #23
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OOOH! Yuck!

Can you guys try this for "spaghetti?"

Okay, a few "basics" first..."spaghetti" is a fairly "thick" past noodle, comparatively, you might want to look at the "angel hair" stuff ("capellini?") as the light side of this...

Note the skinnier the pasta noodle the less the meat you serve with it, and the less the spicing that goes into the sauce...so when you get up into the penne noodles, the meat can be substantial, and the sauce pretty fiery...as the pasta will stand for it...

So lets start with a simple pasta dinner, fairly "bland" (ie not "spice enhanced" but really good, nonetheless!)

Start with a really big pot of water with salt, set to boil...

In a saucepan, a quarter cup of olive oil (you can use he cheap stuff, I use the more expensive, its all I buy, and its probably trivial...) set on about "7" out of 10 on the range dial...add about 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic right away, and then add an onion, the ends in rings, the middle chopped and diced, and let these saute until "blanched or transluscent"....

A jar of Catelli "Garden Sauce"or, better yet Classico Sicilia Roasted Red Pepper sauce, and a 5 oz jar of tomato paste, mixed up to an even consistency...

Keep heating low, and keep stirring!

Add a stalk of celery, sliced very thinly, and stir in...

Add a green or red sweet pepper (your choice!) hulled, de-seeded and diced, and mix, stir and remove from heat into a serving bowl (if you are a mushroom fan, and I am NOT, then at the moment of the peppers, add cleaned, sliced mushrooms...(about 6 should do it) and make sure the sauce is covering both peppers and mushrooms, so they get cooked in the ambient heat...

In the middle of this evolution, your pasta water should break into a boil (you DID remember to add salt, idn't you?) and you can cast in the capellini noodles or angel hair pasta "swirls" (Emiril is entirely correct; if its good quality, it doesn't matter if its fresh or dried!) and you give this about three minutes at a full boil, stirring that it doesn't stick...

When the pasta noodles stick to the wall when you toss one there, its done...drain imediately and pump on some olive oil and mix...with noodles this light in diameter, you don't want or need meat...

If you want further instruction, kindly reply to this post, and we'll go the next few steps...

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Old 10-24-2004, 02:23 AM   #24
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if you ask me, the jarred stuff is garbage. it's too sweet and just all wrong. i cannot even swallow it. i would ask a local restaurant if you can purchase some of thier sauce? that would be much better, or soliciting thehelp of a friend who is a good cook. that stuff in the jar was banned from my house when i was like 2 years old.
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:59 PM   #25
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Lifter - people always look at me with a shocked look when I add celery to my sauce - I love the texture it gives!!! I have also added matchstick carrots - good food!!!!

I will have to look for the red pepper sauce - some jarred sauces are quite worth buying for the convenience (sorry luvs - yes, some are too sweet and I stay away from those).

Lifter - one time try just a tad of red wine vinegar in your sauce (just a tad or you will hate me for sure :P ) - gives a nice twist for a change.

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Old 10-24-2004, 09:04 PM   #26
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I've said it once...actually, probably more like 5-6 times...I've said it a thousand times: You need to use canned San Marzano Tomatoes. You can make a good red sauce in 20 minutes. Here's how simple it is:

Saute 2 oz. of diced bacon or pancetta until the fat is rendered and crispy, about 4-5 minutes.

Add one medium diced onion and saute until translucent and lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes

Add 1/2 tsp. of crushed red chili flakes and 3 cloves of minced garlic, and saute for 1 minute

Add 1/4 c. chicken stock, 1/2 c. white wine, and one can of San Marzano tomatoes and it's juices. Using your hand, break up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces.

Reduce sauce until thickened. Add 2 Tbsp. fresh Thyme, and 2 tsp. fresh minced rosemary. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

This is a version of Amatriciana sauce which is a Roman dish.
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Old 10-24-2004, 09:13 PM   #27
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Hi Otter

There's a lot of sauces out there on shelves (and I've tried most of them, as we eat a lot of pasta!), unfortunately, this is also where most of them should stay...on the shelf, in the store, that is...

Without dissing anybody's product, the ones that I do buy would include Classico, the President's Choice Arrabitta, and Cattelli garden...its been a while since I tried Prego, and I dimly recall it tasting a bit too sweet, but again, everyone's tastes are different, which again is why I'm not dissing the product.

Universally, the spaghetti sauces are too thinned out to be thought as good, and need the addition of a small can of tomato paste added in...

I do not add meat to my spaghetti recipes, as I find that this takes away from the flavour experience, but again, who died and made me king?

"Spaghetti" is a pretty broad category, as there are a tone of very different pasta out there that get subtly different in texture, and so (should) demand different sauces...

In brief, the hotter the ingredients are (ie like hot peppers, tobasco, etc) the thicker the noodles have got to be...

Where you get down to angel hair pasta, capellini, etc, you lighten up on the size of the chopped add-ins...

Anyways, here's how we eat it in our house...

About 3 qts of water, salted and set to boil on high...(salt is cheap, use lots)

In a saucepan, about a quarter cup of olive oil (any olive oil, the cheapn stuff works just as well as extra virgin, you're not going to taste it!) set on medium heat...add 3 tbspns of chopped garlic...peel and slice into rings one medium Vidalia onion (or, if making it "strong", a yellow onion), and saute until transluscent and the smell is driving you nuts...add your jar of pasta sauce and the tin of tomato paste and mix thoroughly, if gently, reducing heat to medium...

about a stalk and a half of fresh celery, very finely sliced...(mix in)

allow to "cook" a little...

(keep up the stirring!)

A sweet red or green pepper, , hulled, de-veined and de-seeded and diced, stirred in...

A half dozen cremini mushrooms (okay, you can use the white ones instead, just cremini's seem to taste better!), washed quickly, stems cut off at the base and very finely sliced, then very gently stirred into the sauce, so they are all covered...turn off the heat...

Your pasta water is by now starting to boil up full, so calculating for 4 people, about a one inch diameter bunch of capellini noodles (the skinniest you can find!) tossed in, and please stir with a fork and TIME this...you must keep stirring at this, so the noodles don't stick together...

Pour your sauce into its serving dish (we are trying to achieve the onion and garlic fully cooked, the celery mostly cooked, the pepper with a bit of "crunch" left in its small pieces, and the mushroom barely cooked when its plated...)

as soon as you can extract a noodle and through it at the wall or cupboard, and it sticks, they are done...drain immediately, dump the noodles to a serving bowl and add some "good" olive oil...tos lightly (we're trying to prevent them sticking together, which is a pita thing, for me....hopefully, you used enough salt to keep them from being gummy), and serve, with olive oil, or butter or margerine, then the sauce on top, then Parmesan cheese (or grated Asiago, if you want to splurge!)...everyone gets to toss it on their own plates, remember the big spoons so you can twirl it onto your forks...

Bon Apetit!

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Old 10-24-2004, 09:40 PM   #28
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Ironchef - I get Marzano tomatoes all the time = I love them. They are by far my favorite. Sometimes I want a smooth sauce = I'll have to get some and puree them.

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Old 10-24-2004, 11:42 PM   #29
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lifter, i have to disagree with one small point you made. one of my favorite dishes is frutti di mare fra diavolo, served over angel hair. the sauce is plain (no added veggies) but hot, and the pasta skinny to allow the seafood flavors to stand out. clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, lobster, conch, scrod, and squid all work well in this dish.

oh, and has anyone tried using pork rib ends in their gravy, uh sorry sauce. i like to add them, well browned but not cooked all the way through, to my sauce. same with sweet sausage. i like a lot of fennel seed in my sausage, so i push a few more in to it before i brown it. when they begin to fall apart, the sauce is done.

adding savory is a nice change of pace to go with or in place of oregano and basil.

i also like to brown or carmelize onions, peppers, and garlic before putting them in. you can put the onions and peppers in raw for a different flavor, but i think garlic should be browned to remove the bitterness. in the summer, i like to add the onions and peppers raw, along with sliced mushrooms, zucchini, celery, and carrots to make a garden style sauce.
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Old 10-25-2004, 12:28 AM   #30
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Hi Buckytom

There you go...if I served pasta with seafood here, I'd get hung on my own front door!, but you are right that you do it your own way, with just a few clues for guidance and if it tastes good, it probably IS good!

Noting to Iron Chef that we cannot seem to get canned or fresh Marzano tomato's here, and even if we could, adding chili flakes would have me back up there on the crucifix...

Its funny, to have the feedback on "Roman" dishes, in June, Margaret and I went to Rome and while I sought to find a "spaghetti dish" similar to our North American sorts...alas! its not like that at all...and again, here in Hamilton, there are more Italian sorts than anywhere else in the world but Italy itself...and so I question the advice abit...

And some of the "jarred stuff" has progressed since "Luv's Food" was 2 years of age, fortunately, and even us greying, balding types get good tips from our Elven contributors...I've tried a splash of wine, Elf, and that kicks it up a bit, but will now try the vinegar thing, and, yes, will be a ontrol freak of how "big" a "splash" but you are likely onto something here

Okay, will let you al, shoot at me now!


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