Friday, November 28, 2008

Lessons in Cookery - II

Okay, so yesterday I napped all the way through my cooking lesson. But I had the determination to squeeze one more in before my mom left for the States. Today's lesson...

It's a staple of household food. It's quick, it's easy, and it tastes marvellous. Every young man ought to know how to make spaghetti and meatballs from prepackaged bits, right?


How to cook Spaghetti & Meatballs and be a sweet guy too

I began by reviewing how to cook Chinese vegetables, which we covered last lesson. Feel free to review for yourself. [Go there now]

What you need:
Cooking the meatballs & sauce:
  1. Apply oil to wok and heat (~1 minute)
  2. Add 1/2 bag of meatballs and stir until cooked
  3. Add entire jar of spaghetti sauce and stir
  4. Continue until sauce begins to boil
  5. Stir additional 5-10 minutes
  6. Add 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of sugar
  7. Taste, and if necessary, add another more sugar (1 teaspoon at a time)
  8. Serve and eat
When adding the spaghetti sauce at step 3, remember to pour it from close to the wok. If you pour it from high up, it will splash, and you will regret it. In step 5, the amount of time you continue stirring the sauce after it boils depends on whether your meatballs were frozen and how high your heat is turned up on the stove. You may want to consider wearing an apron (I did not) - it will make you feel more chef like and keep your clothes free of red stains (I wish mine were).

Cooking the spaghetti:
  1. Add water to pot (enough to cover spaghetti)
  2. Add a pinch of salt
  3. Heat until boiling
  4. Add 1/5 bag of spaghetti to pot
  5. Cook at low heat
  6. Stir infrequently until fully cooked
  7. Drain water by pouring into colander
  8. Rise with water to wash away loose starch
  9. Serve and eat
My Mom told me that she didn't actually know why we added salt, she just did as she was taught. I told her it was to raise the boiling point so that the water would be hotter (boiling point elevation!) - I felt clever. In step 4, you may need to break the spaghetti in half so that it will lie down properly in the pot. If you do so, put your thumbs together in the middle so that they are touching while gripping the spaghetti. If you put them farther apart, as I did originally, your spaghetti will splinter into many pieces and fly in every direction when you try to snap it in half. Remember to continue stirring while the spaghetti is cooking or it will stick to the bottom of the pot, which is not a desired outcome.

You can test if your spaghetti is cooked by fishing out a strand and tasting it to see if it is still hard. I saw a method in the movie Il Mare where they throw the spaghetti at the wall and if it sticks, it's ready. I don't know if that works - it sounds like a fun but messy method. I don't think my parents would go for it.

I'm also fairly certain there is also supposed to be a formula for how much water to add (1.5 litres of water for 100 g of dry pasta), but I like the "enough water to cover your spaghetti" method a lot myself. I've been instructed that too much water is okay and too little water is a no-no.

And we're done! Mmm... meatballs...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your blogs when they are more thought-provoking.