Family pasta recipe - what is the mystery ingredient?!(28 Posts)
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Help me plan a delicious pasta dish please! Thinking of when we go back to school, something that I can make quickly.
So I had a delicious pasta and veg dish recently but the person was very much ‘oh I throw in this and that and stir it all up!’
I could see
-tin of tomatoes
- lots of mushrooms
- sugar snap peas
- a few bits of bacon
I could definitely taste a hint of cumin!
What else could I add to this type of dish to give it lots of flavour without being overpowering? I’ll often try to make this type of thing and it’ll taste so bland🙁
Well how do you normally make it ? The blandness is likely in your method.
Olives. Red wine. Garlic. Spoonful of sugar. The trick is cooking the tomatoes and onion down for a long time as it gets tastier the liger you cook it.
Touch of balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce, garlic
It’s all about layering favours, so I would fry onions and garlic off in butter until soft, then add in pancetta/streaky bacon and fry until the fat had rendered out. If you wanted spices in it add them now.
Then in with a couple of anchovies which sounds mad, but they melt down and you can’t taste fish, it just adds a savoury edge. Then in with the veggies you want and cook for 5-10 mins. A glass of white wine and boil until it’s reduced to almost nothing.
Add in the tomatoes and a cup of hot chicken stock and then cook with the lid off on a low temp for 45mins to an hour. This low and slow cooking will intensify the flavours. Taste at the end and add seasoning - lemon juice to lighten, a tiny bit of sugar if the tomatoes have a runny flavour, salt if it needs it, pepper and fresh herbs if using.
Sounds like a lot of work but it really isn’t, and it makes an incredible sauce!
Red wine in the sauce (a large glass or one of those miniature bottles) is the secret ingredient.
Plus long slow cooking of the sauce before combining with the pasta.
a decent amount of salt and pepper perks up most meals, folks are OBSESSED that salt is bad and then moan that food is bland.
it's it tasty, good, and full of flavour, and it makes your brain work faster.
Also pasta/mushroom dishes benefit from a good slug of alcohol....so once you have softened the onions, and fried the pancetta/mushrooms, I would whack the heat up under the pan for a few moments and then deglaze with a glass of white wine or maybe half of sherry or vermouth. With a tomato based sauce I'd go with red wine or red vermouth.
And do colour the onions and pancetta properly (or any base ingredients) don't just chase it round a luke warm pan.
Tomato type sauces also benefit from a spoonful of sugar, and maybe a little chilli powder or smoked paprika.
Chopped capers. Olives. Jalapenos. Chorizo. Chilli flakes. Fresh chilli. Balsamic. Dried mushrooms (soak beforehand and add soaking water too). I keep marsala or dry cooking sherry as we don't tend to have wine open. Parmesan. Half a veg stock cube/bouillon powder.
Basically anything umami, and/or just a little heat.
Betcha it'll be salt, and a bit of chilli/paprika/cumin. But mainly salt.
You haven't mentioned garlic. You need garlic with the onions.
And then salt!
Olives, sundried tomatoes / paste, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, capers, chorizo - all salty flavours.
If you're after a slightly richer taste I find a square or two of dark chocolate really adds something to a pasta/bolognaise sauce. Tomato based obviously - wouldn't advise chocolate in a carbonara!
The key is definitely umami. Things which add a punch of umami are a bit of soy sauce, marmite, miso, the juice from reconstituting dried mushrooms...
They won't have a prominent taste - just give it the flavour which long, slow cooking impart.
Garlic and lots of black pepper. You won't need much salt because of the bacon. I also put some ketchup with tinned tomatoes in pasta sauces.
Fennel is generally amazing in tomato sauce
Start with chopped onions and garlic, then veg like peppers and also the bacon (it’ll be smoked probably so no extra salt after that if it was me) then mushrooms etc. Then tomato purée. Chances are if your tomato pasta tastes bland you’re just using tinned tomatoes without tomato purée? Then after the purée, red wine, then finally chopped tinned tomatoes. Let it bubble gently for a good 10 mins or so.
Pinch of sugar
Bit of Tabasco
A small amount of salt and garlic both help give depth of flavour but probably the most important thing is to take time over cooking it.
The onions and other veg need to have a good fry to gently colour and bring out flavour before adding tomatoes and then with tinned tomatoes you need to cook them gently for a long time (at least 40 minutes but longer if you can).
I was going to say anchovies also. They add something special without the fishyness
I agree with Teddy that a good tomato sauce needs time.
And with Fusion about fennel.
Italians don't tend to use garlic and onions in tomato sauce funnily enough, they'll use one or other, or none at all.
Fry bacon and peas. Chuck in cooked pasta with some of water it cooked in. Handful of grated Parmesan and 3 egg yolks. Toss about. Serve with salad. Absolutely my go to pasta. Can be altered so easily. Green beans instead of peas. Chicken instead of bacon etc.
try adding some soy sauce or marmite as your ‘salty’ element. I like bay leaves in pasta sauce too and ensure onions are cooked through properly. Oh amd a really good amount of tomato puree added to frying onions to allow it to cook out properly.
Fry the onion in actual butter
Add a bit of chopped celery to the onion frying stage
Add a bit of Marmite to the sauce
I promise the celery and Marmite do not taste like celery and marmite, but add lovely savoury umami layers to the flavour.
Tomato sauce might be better with time, but it tastes perfectly delicious after 20 minutes. No wonder people are scared to have a go at cooking: people make it sound so complex, faffy and time consuming, when in reality you can have a delicious pasta dish on the table in less than half an hour. It does not have to be authentic to be tasty and a decent family meal. The OP is not opening a trattoria, as far as I'm aware.
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