Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Let Us Talk of Fried Spaghetti

That's right, I said fried spaghetti. It's freaking awesome. I've been eating it since I was wee, and I shall never, ever, ever not eat it.

Why is it so great? Well, it tastes amazing, much better, in my estimation, then pasta that comes out of boiling water and is smothered with sauce. It also ensures that you don't waste food, because, really, who wants to eat leftovers for days, or throw away sauce that you don't use first time around? No one, that's who. Also, it allows you to do something with cooked pasta that you probably never thought would be possible - freeze it and eat it later. Dude!

So, here's how you go about taking part in a meal of the gods. I'm going to pretend that you're like me and will be making pasta with the express purpose of frying it up.

  1. Boil up pasta - stringy types like spaghetti or angel hair will work best. If you're planning on freezing leftovers, use a whole package.
  2. Cook up a mess of tomato sauce.
  3. Dump pasta into a large bowl, and pour sauce over top. Stir until pasta is covered.
  4. Let cool and put in fridge. Let pasta absorb sauce over-night.
  5. Grab a large non-stick frying pan and melt some butter on medium-high heat.
  6. Put the amount of pasta that you'd like to eat in that there pan. Stir until heated through, and pasta absorbs butter.
  7. Stop stirring. Let the pasta sit for a bit, drying out. Stir to get the top layer to the bottom of the pan. Let pasta sit. And so on and so on.
  8. If you, like me, like dark toast, overcooked brownie edges, burnt cheese on pizza crust and the one or two lone dark chips that you might find in a bag of chips, you then let the pasta sit for a long time, until it becomes crispy, and, perhaps, a little blackened. Or a lot blackened.
  9. Then you eat.
  10. If you want to freeze spaghetti in order to fry it up later, after you coat the boiled spaghetti with sauce, grab some sandwich bags, and create individual portions then put in the freezer. Allow to defrost before frying.
The end.


Peter said...

Do you have nutritional information for this dish?

Peter said...

Actually that's a very clever recipe - kind of like marinated pasta, which becomes more concentrated as you cook it and it dries out. Probably pregnant with flavour. Sounds like quintessential comfort food!

Some marinated portabellos might be nice as an antipasto. Here's a quick recipe:

couple portabello mushrooms
some olive oil
some balsalmic vinegar
garlic flakes or crushed garlic
black pepper (just b/c I love pepper)
1 big bag of bbq chips

Cut mushrooms into thick strips and throw into bowl. Mix together oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper, and dump into bowl with mushrooms. Stir everything around; marinade will be more or less immediately sucked up like a sponge. Cook in your Ronco® Grill (I know you have one!), Foreman® Grill or use broiler in oven (best way, but probably should turn them once if using that method). The sugars in the balsalmic should carmelize and create sufficient number of tasty blackened bits.

Eat bag of bbq chips while waiting for mushrooms to cook.

Foxy said...

This sounds amazing. I will make it tomorrow.

Melissa said...

Dearest Foxy, you must let me know what you think when you try it.

Peter, I adore anything that has to do with portabellos. The next time I'm feeling an Italian urge, I'll be trying these out.

As for your smartass nutritional information request, my first response was "100% RDI of Awesomeness". Then, because I am a geek about nutritional information myself, all I can say is that I use whole wheat pasta, and make sauce from scratch. I also tend to add nutritional yeast to the sauce, and stir in roasted vegetables and seitan (also homemade) before serving, so, without doing number-type calculations, what's on your plate is high in fibre, low in sodium, and rich in protein and B vitamins.

Peter said...

From one nutritional information geek to another, I'm dead impressed! Not that I wasn't before. I'm going to make this, exactly your way.

We very seriously need to talk homemade seitan sometime. And roasted vegetables. And nutritional yeast brands. And exercise/nutrition philosophy and implementation. And current events, issues and trends. And everything on Wikipedia. Or, just the seitan....

Melissa said...

I can wax poetic about all of those things, mister. But to start you off, here's the recipe that I cobbled together for seitan:

You're going to need a good afternoon to make it, though it's completely worth it.

As for nutritional yeast brands, I've tried a few and not found any real difference, so I tend to buy the stuff in prepackaged plastic containers from Purely Bulk from the organic / natural section of my grocery stores. Less pricey then the Bob's Red Mill stuff.

Peter said...

I think I tried the Purely Bulk sometime ago, and it was very good. I've currently got a bag of Bob's going. He makes good stuff, but I've always felt Bob goes out of his way to take us to the cleaners!

Have you ever tried adding a little normal flour filler (I usually use spelt) to the gluten mix to soften the texture for the seitan? Or do you prefer it "straight up"? I've always used a very modified version of the old Iva's Gluten Steaks recipe:

3 cups gluten flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup Minute tapioca
4 Tbs. yeast flakes

Add all at once 3 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cups soy sauce. Mix quickly and form into
a long roll and slice into steaks. Boil in broth for 1 hour.

9 cups water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup soy sauce
2 medium onions, chopped
garlic, chopped

I make it differently every time, and usually add more veggies in the broth. And I use a pressure cooker, as it only takes 1/3rd the time to cook stuff in it (great for legumes!). PLUS, I have a secret ingredient: Marmite! It's vile stuff on its own, but it's high in B vitamins and adds this incredible dimensionality to a broth. And I love the taste of dimensionality....

I'm can't wait to try your protein-power approach and spicing - perfect Sunday afternoon post-tennis project!

Melissa said...

I haven't, as I'm not a fan of the idea of a filler. I wants me some protein, and I want it to be the most protein-y protein I can get. It's because I'm demanding like that.

Let me know what you think of the seitan when you get around to making it!

Peter said...

Ok, filler was REALLY the wrong choice of words. Bioavailability-boosting texture-enhancer might've been better. I shall report on yours anon.

Peter said...

Alrighty. So I made your super proteiny seitan last night. Followed your excellent instructions to the letter, and I loved it, Melissa. Much better than my stuff. Did you really develop that recipe/approach yourself? Did you study at a Buddhist monastery or something??

If I seemed a little trepidatious about going 100% gluten, or just like a basic ass with no judgement whatsoever, it was because I tried making it that way several times many years ago and the results were seriously enough to turn anyone off veg*nism forever. It was like biting into a racquetball, and felt about as digestible. But yours wasn't like that at all. I think the very long cooking time and preventing it from coming to a boil (VERY hard on my overambitious stove!) helped make a big difference.

I guess I was also under the impression that places like Le Commensal and Chu Chai in Montreal use a small amount of extra something in their seitan recipes too, but I could be wrong about that. Chu Chai makes some great seitan, btw.

So t'anks! Nothing like having a heapin pile of super-tasty gym-recovery veggie protein on hand. Now I guess I can give my "filler" away to some really bad catering company or something.

Melissa said...

No Buddhist monastery, but I have been forcing myself to sit through John from Cincinnati.

I don't know if you'll believe this, but before making seitan by myself, I don't ever remember even tasting it before, though I'm sure I must've had it at Le Commensal sometime or other. And I've never been able to find it in grocery stores around here, so I'm kind of flying blind with the recipe, you know?

Confession: I'm one of those people who cooks by feel. So, I just I cobbled it together from three or four different sources, taking the things that I liked and made sense from each. I think the long, low-heat immersion is key - if it works to make the toughest meat tender, it should work on a meat substitute, is what I reckon.

I'm so glad you liked what ended up on your stove! That really means a lot to hear it.

PS: I'm kind of considering getting a soy milk maker for the express purpose of making my own tofu. Because the kitchen experiments? They are fun and tasty. And I obviously need something new to the other staples that I make for myself (see: peanut butter, tortillas and yogurt).

Melissa said...

Oh, and I ate at Chu Chai the last time I was in Montreal! It was so lovely.

Peter said...

I've been on the verge of getting a soy milk maker for eons. All I need is a moment of weakness with credit card in close proximity, or even a single positive accolade from someone whose judgement I'm coming to trust implicitly. I used to make my own soy milk with my Green Power juicer and a pot on the stove (to grease those nasty trypsin inhibitors) - very messy process but the product was so satisfying. Never ventured into the next level of making tofu, but I should. To my way of tasting there is nothing, but nothing, like the taste of fresh tofu! NOTHING! I occasionally come back to reread this wonderful NYT tofu article in my foodie article archives.

Needless to say, I'd already poked around looking at all your other recipes. The theme emerging here is that you are a person who understands just how incomparably better tasting and healthier virtually everything is when you make stuff yourself from simple whole ingredients. You know. You get it! I really like the open-ended/customizable way you write your recipes, too. Oh, and the all the little ancillary practical advice (that most recipes leave out) you give in your directions is also really helpful.

I love my kitchen time. I mainly cook by feel too. I rarely even measure, which pretty much makes everything I cook an experiment. And of course it also kind of makes it difficult when you want to share a recipe with someone!

I think I'll check out your pb next.

Melissa said...

I feel like if someone on this thread ends up getting a soy milk maker, and then tells me that it really is a worthwhile purchase, that I'd have to get one myself then.

I'm just saying that sometimes, and I know it's surprising to everyone who tells me that I should be a personal shopper, that sometimes, I do need to be enabled by others.

Peter said...

You know, you're making it awfully, awfully tempting.