Sunday, June 11, 2006

Absorption Pasta

I found this recipe on another cooking blog recently, and I've been dying to try it out. It's called absorption pasta. This truly is an oddity. Normally when one cooks pasta, they cook it in a lot of water, and then they drain the water away and add sauce and/or other accompanyments. This pasta isn't like that. It's more like risotto.

Now, normally when one makes rice, they add a lot of water, tightly cover, and let it cook slowly, while never ever stirring. When it's finished, it should be fluffed as carefully as possible, and never stirred. Risotto is different. It uses a different rice, in fact. It uses a medium grain rice, rather than the long-grain that most Americans are used to. Basically, as the rice is cooking, one adds hot stock and stirs the rice constantly, which causes starch granules to rub off the rice and join into the liquid, which actually creates a sauce.

Absorption pasta is like that. To start, I added a wee bit of olive oil to a pan, and a large clove of garlic, minced. I let it cook a little over medium heat, and added a couple of handfuls of egg noodles (because that's what I had). I stirred a little in an attempt to coat the pasta, gave up, and added a bit of hot stock. I also added a couple of pinches of Kosher salt. Now, the recipe I went from said to add just enough stock to cover. Well, I didn't quite cover it with the stock, but I came close. I put the cover on the pan and let it cook over medium low for a couple of minutes, before uncovering and giving it a stir. After stirring for a minute, I covered again and let it sit. I repeated a couple of times, and eventually dispensed with the cover. After a while, when pasta was almost cooked, I added just a little more stock. All in all, it was probably a little more than a cup. As the pasta cooked, some of the water from the stock would evaporate, and some of the starch would rub off into the remaining liquid. Eventually what I was left with was a pasta covered in a silky, self-made chickeny sauce. I sprinkled with a little grated Parmesian and some ground cacao nibs, just like in the article I stole the rest of the recipe from. You'd be surprised how good that is.

I don't know if I'm going to cook my pasta like that every time now, like the woman that writes Chocolate and Zucchini suggested, but I am going to try more variations. I have a few sun-dried tomatoes that I'm thinking about adding, and maybe some kind of chile sauce. Not too much, just enough for flavor.

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