Quick Recipes and Easy

Pantry Raid 1: Use Your Noodle

Excellent Eats episode Pantry Raid I: Use Your Noodle is part one of a three part series on the fantastic essential of the pantry, dried pasta. The show originally aired on September 19, 1999. The show has appearances by John Crow as a cook, Dr. Amy Trubeck as the food anthropologist, Steven Pitts as a child who is eating pasta, Joe Brown as a cook, Luigi Martinelli as a pasta maker, Kelly Braun as a Tupperware Party Lady, and Phyllis Cook as a Tupperware Lady as well.

The star of this episode is, of course, dried pasta. The show opens with AB and food anthropologist, Dr. Amy Trubeck discussing the history of pasta. It apparently started in and around, surprise, Italy and China. Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that it uses the grains the cultures were using anyway and it is simpler to prepare than bread is.

Fantastic emphasis is paid to the pasta itself. The trend in US cuisine is to emphasize the sauce and not the pasta, AB tries to change that mentality. He also is quick to point out that dried pasta is in no way inferior to fresh, merely different.

Mid way through the episode, we see how dried pasta is made. It is one of those things that you have probably given very small thought to. This is one of the highlights of this particular Excellent Eats since, in the tradition of the show, it a small, informative, and fascinating segment.

When Alton Brown finally gets to the cooking part of the episode, there is a lot of excellent information to be had. Cooking pasta can be simple, and in this Excellent Eats episode you get to see how to make it so. His huge message is that you need a lot of water. You need more than the box says and you need a huge pot to get all that water. It’s a simple tip, but very effective when you go to cook up some fettuccini or spaghetti.

Finally, Brown covers simple sauces and anti-sauces and how to properly apply them to pasta without over saucing it. He also talks about knowing when pasta is done without overcooking so that you end up with the perfect pasta dish and no hassle. This is fantastic start to a fantastic Excellent Eats trilogy. Excellent Eats is always at its best when it takes a simple food we take for granted, and makes it even more accessible and even better than we thought it could be.

Tip of the episode: When cooking pasta, salt is an absolute must while oil is a no no. The oil just floats on top and makes a mess, and what does stay on the pasta makes it resist sauce more than it would normally. On the other hand, when the water is boiling, the salt is a must as this is the one time you can get flavor into the pasta

Celebrity Chefs such as alton-brown.com Alton Brown And Bobby Flay are becoming a staple in the diets of American TV Watchers everywhere.

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