Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pasta tips and more...

Believe it or not, 9 of us out of 10 would probably face some problems while cooking pasta. Be it undercooked, overcooked, burnt (very unlikely for me), pasta stuck together or turning out tasteless tend to be the normal problems we face. Lately, I did some trials and finally I found some tips of preparing pasta.

Tip 1:
First of all, you have to understand that not all pasta are made the same way and selecting a good and reputable brand is very important. Pasta ought to be made only with 100% Durum Semolina, but recognizing that is not enough. The pasta connoisseurs will distinguish pasta from pasta and thus reading the labels is very important and I trust pasta made in Italy. Do you know that high-quality pasta has a nice golden color with a slight opaque appearance?

For buying pasta, I like Tesco Extra as they have aisles of pasta to choose from and a good variety of imported labels are available here. I stood a good 10 minutes there deciding which label to buy.

I even bought 2 packets of Alce Nero Organic Penne Rigate which was on promotion and the price was very reasonable.

Tip 2:
Use a big pot, plenty of water and good salt.
By using a big pot, you can avoid overcrowding of the pasta when boiling as pasta needs room to move. Water must be sufficient - for one pound of pasta, one should use at least six liters of water. Adding salt to the water is important as it will add flavour to pasta but salt must only be added when the water is boiling. After adding the salt, wait for the water to reach a rolling boil again before adding the dry pasta into the pot. For that, I like to use a good sea salt.


Tip 3:
During the cooking process, it's advisable to stir the pasta which is submerged in the water 2 to 3 times. It's very important to be attentive while cooking pasta as it'll take about 8 to 10 minutes to cook. The way to get an "al-dente" pasta is to taste them yourself. Once you find that the pasta is "al-dente", it's time to remove the pasta from the stove.

Tip 4:
Once the pasta is cooked, add a glass of cold water into the pot to prevent overcooking. Drain the pasta but don't lose its starch as the strands need to look glossy and well-moisturised. Some of the water from the pot can be kept to keep the pasta moisturised and the same water can be added into the sauce to bind the pasta and the sauce well.

For a quick meal, I like to use these pasta sauces which are easily available at the hypermarkets. Tesco Extra has a wide range of brands with an extensive choice of sauces from bolognese to hot & spicy. These are easy, no-frill pasta sauce preparation which is perfect after a long day at work.

I was having lunch with Gee at The Curve and we decided to pop into Tesco Extra at Mutiara Damansara to do our grocery shopping as I heard that the hypermarket has been newly renovated. Being curious, we both went and check it and out and I was impressed with the variety of eateries and also retail outlets there. It's everything under one roof!

There is a wide selection of food items and if you're looking for fine ingredients or imported food stuffs, this is the place to go. Tesco Extra has a few wallbays dedicated to their own Tesco "labels" where the food items are of high quality and imported from teas, coffees and sauces.

Gee was scouting for a new soup pot.


The reason why I like Tesco is that the aisles are all well-organised and the place is spacious. You can waltz into any Tesco outlets and you will know exactly where each and every category is located. I was very surprised to see the Uncle Bob's Fried Chicken counter where there is also a bistro for the patrons to sit down and have a meal before continuing their grocery shopping. This is very cool!

I bought one of these too and you can see it in my new house!


I like how everything here is organised and the selection for every category is well-represented. I was looking around for household items and I found that they have quite an impressive section for the house decorative items such as cushions, pillows and bedsheets. I was really shocked and since when a hypermarket sells all these? Think of the time and money you'll save by just shopping here without having to go to different places to buy certain things.

The new look and experience at Tesco Extra in Mutiara Damansara is really my ideal shopping place on weekends now.

10 comments:

suituapui said...

Wah!!! So many things to note and remember! Hmmmm...so when I hop over to KL, you will invite me to your new house and cook me a nice pasta dinner? Yes? Wink! Wink! LOL!!!!

ronin said...

My tips in cooking 'instant' pasta is to use burger patties. Cook the patties first then break them up before adding the sauce. Taste better than using minced meat and easier too.

Sean said...

lotsa useful tips! if only i had known most of these while making pasta for potlucks with friends during my uni days. my spaghetti was usually either too hard or too soggy, heh :D

UnkaLeong said...

Your best bet to infuse flavour into the pasta is when cooking it. I drop in a bay leaf or two to give the pasta extra kick!

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foongpc said...

Thanks for the tips!! And I love shopping at Tesco in Mutiara Damansara too! : )

eiling lim said...

STP: Haha.. ok I will cook pasta for you provided you bring me kampua noodles. hehe

Ronin: Wow.. that's a brilliant idea too. Thanks for the tips.

Sean: Now you can still cook them for pot luck sessions anytime. hehe

Unkaleong: Hey you, glad to see you here. Thanks for the tips. I shall give them a try.

Anon: Thanks.

Foongpc: Me too. So much to buy there and so little money. :(

missyblurkit said...

true about the selections that Tesco has...especially the one in Mutiara Damansara. THANX for the tips on cooking pasta. I just showed it to the hubby so he can cook himself a meal over the weekend in my absence:D

KY said...

agreed with everything except salt, chemically those table salt should be sufficient in my opinion la. but if u want that extra "flavor" that might or might not exist in sea salt, then.. yah. :D

just my 2 peso

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