What? Three pasta entries in a row? Is this all I eat now?
No. I swear I eat other things. I was totally going to make some fajitas tonight, but it's been three really busy days at work and I wanted some easy comfort food, so I switched things up last minute.
I mentioned two entries ago that I wanted to try the alfredo recipe from Sip and Taste. I tend to like white sauce more than red sauce for pasta, and I appreciate that the video uses my favorite type of pasta, pappardelle. I just really like wide noodles.
I know I complained about youtube recipes in general, but this video doesn't even have a text recipe in the description! I actually watched the video and furiously wrote down notes at the same time.
But my notes must have been good enough because this was really easy to make and I was very happy with it! The original recipe calls for chicken, but when I was at the grocery store last night I saw shrimp on sale for $5.99/lb and I had to get it.
Shrimp is probably my favorite seafood, but I find that if it's not cooked right it tastes really bad. So I kept this simple. I sprinkled a little bit of cajun seasoning on the shrimp and cooked it on the pan for a few minutes and it was perfect. High quality shrimp already has such good flavor that I like eating it even without anything added to it.
My cooking experiences aren't complete without some sort of flailing, and I may have dropped some pasta on the stove while I was taking it out of the boiling water and into the sauce. I liked not having to use a colander, but once I had gotten all the long noodles out, I knew there were still short pieces of pasta still left in the water and I was kind of struggling to fish it all out.
But other than that, it was smooth sailing. I think I'd make this again! Not anytime soon though. I think I should take a break from pasta.
I don't think of my mom as a pasta person, but the one pasta dish she would always come back to is baked ziti. It's kind of heavy, which is probably why she never makes it anymore, so I need to make it myself if I ever want to have some.
I've made this just a few times before, but it's not really a dish I come back to because I've found it to be a lot of work. I use the baked ziti recipe from Budget Bytes. In the past, I would halve the recipe, but this time I cooked the whole pound of pasta, and I actually found it to be a lot easier this way.
While it does taste best right after it's been cooked and taken out of the oven, leftover baked ziti isn't half bad. And we had a lot of leftovers. This might even be something I could cook for my family! (if they weren't all on a diet)
I really don't have much to say about the recipe. It does have a lot of steps, but it's pretty easy, and the end result is very satisfying and tasty.
So for the most part, my youtube feed has consisted of music performances, updates on celebrities that I've followed, clips of funny shows, and rhythm game videos. But one day, youtube decided to recommend me a cooking video. I watched it, and now half my feed is recipes.
That first recipe video I watched came from a channel called Sip and Feast which just has lots and lots of pasta recipes. They all look really good and the comments also rave about the pastas, so I had to try one of them. I settled on making spicy creamy mushroom pasta, or as it's titled on the youtube channel, "Quite Possibly The Best Cream Sauce Ever!" -_-
The annoying thing about recipes on youtube is that they always just put the actual recipe text in the description and there's no nice "printer friendly" version of the recipe that I can look at without being blasted by ads. So you know what I do? I write it down.
I kind of hate the taste of wine, but I felt like I needed it for this recipe, so I went to the local Fine Wine and Good Spirits and bought the tiniest, cheapest box of white wine I could find. It was $3. I also replaced Calibrian chili paste with chili garlic sauce because that's what I already had.
I think best ever was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was pretty good! I really liked the flavor of the sauce. And I know I have this weird aversion to leftover pasta, so I only boiled enough pasta for one meal, and I mixed in just enough sauce with that. It took about 40 minutes to make, which wasn't too bad for my first time. I think I'll try more pasta dishes from this channel. Maybe an alfredo next time.
Whenever I go over to my friends' places and they cook for me, I find it so inspiring. Homemade food is always so good, and usually so simple. I go to restaurants and I eat take out, and I'm pretty much never impressed, but there is something about a homemade dish that is incredibly satisfying. Everything that my friends make, I want to make too.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends showed me this spaghetti aglio e olio recipe that she had been making a lot of. (It took me a few times of saying that dish out loud before I could remember it) It was pretty good, but my friend loves spicy foods and doesn't like things too salty, so she doubled the red pepper and added way less salt than the recipe called for, and well, it tasted very pepper-y to me. So I wanted to try making this myself.
Also, the recipe says Don't serve cheese with this and I know I'm basically asking to be told what to do when making a dish, but I don't appreciate recipes telling me not to add cheese to my pasta. So I searched for another recipe, and I was feeling Love & Lemons take on it more.
I was feeling fancy so I used bucatini instead of spaghetti, and I wanted some vegetable in this so I added some grape tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes are delicious and this dish was delicious and the noodles were so fun to eat 😊
After I had read a few pages of Salt Fat Acid Heat, I told myself that I would try to read the whole thing once I got back to my apartment. That was May, and I waited til September to take the book out from the library, and after that it just sat on the shelf for month. (I'm really bad at returning library books in a timely manner. It takes me months, sometimes over a year.) But I finally started reading it again in earnest last week.
There is a lot of information in the book just about salt, but I figured the next place where I would try to incorporate another lesson is pasta. The author, Samin Nosrat, says this about boiling your pasta water:
season your cooking water as salty as the sea. [...] You might flinch upon seeing just how much salt this takes, but remember, most of the salt ends up going down the drain.
I filled up my pot with some water, started boiling it, threw two clumps of (table) salt in, and tasted a spoonful of the water. Not even close. I did this probably four or five more times, and wow this takes a lot of salt to get to what seems like "sea salt water". I'm not flinching because I'm worried about my salt intake, I'm just thinking about how much more salt I'll need to have on hand.
And now it has suddenly dawned on me how I kept running out of salt when my sister was staying with me.
Hey! I actually tasted the saltiness of the pasta! It was good! But yeah, this is a lot of salt. I think I'll keep trying to make properly salted pasta, but I'll stick to table salt in my cooking water.
I ended up making Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta because I had a nub of cream cheese, along with a bell pepper and an onion sitting in my fridge. It was delicious. You can never go wrong with creamy pasta.
I might try and make a less saucy pasta next, one where the flavor in the pasta itself is much more apparent.
For now, I think I need to restock on salt again.