Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to Cook Pasta [for dummies]

Today I'm gonna teach you how to make a step-by-step quick
Tomato-based Pasta
This is a fairly simple dish that doesn't require much time and effort
Un-conventional ingredients were used as "cheat codes" for efficiency
without compromising the taste of your meal

Intended for:
1. People who rarely cook, are sucky cooks, are lazy to do mis en place
2. Busy students/workers who need a quick meal
3. Modern women who can't cook for nuts or amateurs
4. Hungry cheapskates on budget meals
5. People who do not have elaborated kitchen equipments

To start, lets take a look at the
Shopping List:
1. Coles Pasta Sauce (700g) AUD1.99
2. Coles Parmesan Cheese (250g) AUD4.39
3. Coles Salt (500g) AUD0.79
4. Mckenzies Pepper (100g) AUD2.73
5. Masterfood Salt Garlic (62g) AUD1.85
6. Masterfood Chillies Hot (27g) AUD2.52
7. Masterfood Parsley (4g) AUD1.54
8. Brown Mushrooms (200g) AUD2.79
9. Sanremo Zita Penne (500g) AUD1.95
10. Minced Pork (200g) AUD1.40

Notice that you can use these items to cook like what?
3-4 servings and most of them are reusable and optional.
I'll be preparing a slightly above average Asian portion sized meal.
Do the mathematics and Standard Deviations, work out your own budget.
This is just what I would use, you may be creative.
This meal costs me around AUD4
and 20min off my busy schedule.

This dish cannot, I repeat CANNOT, be used to impress your girlfriend,
potential girlfriend, gay partner, future mother-in-law whatever.
It is just a quick meal equivalent to a microwaved meal,
only taste better, healthier and cheaper!
I am not responsible if you cook this at Thanksgiving
that results in a divorce or war with your in-laws.

Let's get started!

Step 1
Cook your penne
(or any dried pasta that you have purchased, be it spaghetti, fettucini, macroni etc
I would slap you if you email me saying you've purchased lagsane skins
Tell you what.. tear them into bite-sizes and eat them like 面粉糕/板面 if you please.)
You may wanna add some salt to speed up the boiling
and prevent sticking of the pasta..
If you have plenty of time, you may wanna prepare a large bowl of ice water
to shock the pasta when its cooked.

Step 2
Chop up the mushrooms

I'm only doing this while my penne is boiling
because I am good at multi-tasking. I can play PSP, watching television, listen to the radio, brush my teeth and countdown to the new year while having sex. If you can't cook a meal without burning down the kitchen, do this before you boil your pasta, capiche?
Notice I did not cut them into slices too thin, I want soft chewy mushrooms in my pasta.
If you prefer flossing your teeth with mushrooms, bring them to your sashimi chef.

Step 3
Cook the Pasta Sauce

Heat up your pan, add some oil, dump in about 250g of pasta sauce
(you may add all 700g if you want pasta tomato soup
and if you may ask - what kind of oil should I use? Olive, Corn, Sunflower etc?
Its up to you, I'm just using normal cooking oil cos after all my herbs and spices
trust me you can't taste your EXPENSIVE-extra-extra-extra-hail-mary-virgin-olive oil)
When you think its heated up enough, throw in your minced meat (defroze if frozen)
and break them apart, stir them around up down left right
You may give it a lil toss if its not your responsibility to clean the kitchen later

Note: My pasta is still boiling throughout. My definition of "Al Dente" may be different from yours. If you like your pasta soft and runny like baby food, cook it overnight in a slow-cooker beforehand. If you like them crunchy, you don't even need to boil them.

Step 4
Throw in your Diced Mushrooms

Notice that I have to separate this step. I'm about to introduce an optional step which if you're not particular about what you eat, you may skip.
I have thrown in the mushrooms, give the pan a lil swirl and covered it with a lid.
It is crucial to minimise touching the mushrooms too much if you want juicy mushrooms.
They are fragile and delicate little fungus that shrivel up as you touch them.
(Unlike women, they are of an indirect relation - the less you touch them, the more juice they produce)

So here I want minimal contact. How to tell if your mushrooms are cooked?
There is a hissing sound when you put in the mushrooms
When it turns into a soft and slow hiss, off the heat.

FAQ: I can't hear the hissing sound, is there something wrong with my mushrooms?
ANS: There is something wrong with your ear; otherwise turn off your television, radio or girlfriend. Every fresh mushroom hiss like a snake, except of cos smaller and less juicier ones like enoki/nametake (which you probably need to plug in industrial speakers).

Step 5
Season your pasta sauce

Add salt, pepper, herbs, spices, soy sauce, vinegar whatever you like.
I've added just sprinkles of salt+garlic, chillies and parsley.
Drain out the water from the pasta,
(you may want to massage your pastas with olive oil at this part)
and throw everything into a bowl/plate.
Grab a handful of grated parmesan cheese and sprinkle them over the top.

Step 6
Eat your f*ckin' pasta while pippin' hot

Notice that you save a lot of time on preparing the pasta sauce from scratch.
Of course if you want you can start by peeling tomatoes and onions.
Do note that this recipe is mostly for lazy amateurs.

Food Quality: 8/10
Food Presentation: 6/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Skills Involved: 2/10
Time Saving: 9/10
Mess Created: 3/10
Hazard Risk: 2/10
Other Comments: In conclusion, it is a LOW risk, LOW mess, LOW skill, LOW cost meal.

FAQ: Your recipe sucks! My lecturer failed me when I used it in my F&B project.
ANS: I get that a lot, especially if your lectuer is female.

FAQ: Your recipe sucks! My kitchen burst into flames and I'm now homeless.
ANS: Buy insurance before you cook in future. Go collect your welfare cheque.

FAQ: Your recipe rocks! I just made twenty grands profit selling this in my restaurant.
ANS: Transfer 10% of your monthly profit into my bank account, thanks.

Recipe also available at

iPhone Updates

Was watching Family Guy Season 8 happily at Sammy's
when Fei Fei came, made 130dB of noise pollution
bugging us to have lunch with her.
Sam refuses to wake up, so I was tasked to escort her to lunch
This is Avocado Chicken Rice from Inhouse, Meyer Center

Fei Fei has some mushroom salad
from Sumo Salads before we went to catch
Bounty Hunter at Birch Meyer
The show was quite nice, with
Jennifer Aniston as a value-added attribute
She's amazingly cute & hawt for her age (42 yr old)

After that we went to have a haircut at
KOOGI, Albert Street

The hair stylist massages my scalp a lot
I kinda enjoy that during a haircut
It makes me feel like a puppy..


Then we went to shoot some hoops at TimeZone
I scored pretty badly
perhaps due to the shift in balance from a post-haircut

But I totally pwn-ed Fei Fei's ass in Air Hockey
Set 1: 5-7

Set 2: 0-7

Next game was Gun Bullet aka Point Blank (Namco 1994)

We completed the NORMAL missions easily
then played Lets Go Jungle! (Sega 2006)
shooting game that has huge-ass mutant insects coming after you
Failed terribly!

Last stop, Cafe East for some drinks

Strawberry Milkshake and Stella Artois