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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Simply Lunch

I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘cooking’ but I can make noodles.  That means I can boil water, put the pasta in and wait until it’s done.

Hello there and Happy Valentine's Day!  Let’s usher in a fabulous day by thinking positive, doing right, and enjoying life.  No matter what your predicament this day, I can assure you that there are probably countless many out there who would give their left arm to trade places with you.  Go ahead… Count your blessing and allow your positive actions to become your legacy.

Chucky hasn’t anything exciting this day to share.  This posting may be quite the opposite perhaps.  Am I the only one who believes that some of the most delicious dishes out there are the simplest with the fewest ingredients?  Chucky, unlike a professional chef, hasn’t the ability to combine more than a couple of ingredients without tastes becoming corrupt.  A true chef, on the other hand, has that knack and skill to blend a multitude of flavors into a taste crescendo.

Pasta, pesto, veggies and apple sage vegetarian sausage

A few weeks ago I was staring at the refrigerator wondering what I’d make Tiffany and myself for lunch the following day.  What’s inside that must be used before it expires?  “Pasta!”  We’ve got some fresh rotini pasta which we purchased from Ravalia’s Pasta Bar & Italian Rotisserie the other night.

3-minutes in the boiling water until al dente, drain, then add a few tablespoons of pre-made pesto, toss in some frozen mixed veggies, and then some sliced smoked apple sage sausage.  I’ve got lunches (several lunches and some dinners) made!

Chucky has just made a delicious, overly filling, healthy, tasty, delicious and quick meal.  The picture speaks for itself.  There is nothing else necessary except perhaps an appetite and a light sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

If you’ve never treated yourself to fresh pasta, please do so.  Hopefully you have a local purveyor of fresh pasta as I do (Ravalia’s).  But, that fresh pasta in the cooler section of your local grocery store is the next best thing.

Believe me that it tastes leaps and bounds better than dried pasta.  It’s chewier, tastier, quite the more filling, quicker & easier to cook, and the carbohydrates seem to release slower and longer than conventional dried pasta.  Did you know that fresh pasta has fewer calories than dried pasta?  From what I have researched, you eat less fresh pasta because it fills you up quicker and supplies your bloodstream with energy longer throughout the day.  It’s is more complex carbohydrate rich than its dried counterpart.

I have also read that true Italians also cook and eat their pasta al dente for nutritional reasons.  After al dente pasta is digested, your body takes longer to convert the starches to sugars in the “uncooked” parts of the meal.  Cooking your pasta too long simply converts too much of the starches to sugars too quickly and you end up with nothing but a quick energy burst.  Hours later you will find yourself hungry again.

And… what have we learned here today?  Yes!  Chucky does not know the meaning of “quick” blog post.  Sorry.  It’s in my nature.  But, I do hope that you have taken something away from this post today.  That easy and quick can be delicious and healthy.  That fresh is better than dried pasta.  That cooking your pasta al dente has more reason than rhyme.

Hi-dee hi-dee thus-concludes-Chucky’s-pasta-cooking-lesson-today-ho my friend.


  1. Have you looked at any books by Jeanne Lemlin, Andrea Chesman, or Crescent Dragonwagon? I think you would love them. Also the KitcheCue series on technique. Happy Valentine's Day!

  2. Thanks fanya. I'll be sure to look up these authors in my local bookstore. I've got some great vegetarian cookbooks on my shelves but you can never have too many. I'll also see if I can Google and check-out the KitchenQue series which you recommend.

    You too. Have a very Happy Valentine's Day and stay healthy!

  3. hope you had a happy valentines day! I agree that simple is great. (Kelloggs once had an advertising campaign with the slogan - the simple things in life are often the best - don't know if it was done in America too). But I am not good at simple! I agree that home made pasta is more filling - I had a friend who used to make it but I mainly buy fresh ravioli - I actually have bought a home made pasta machine and must get it into action so thanks for the reminder of why!

  4. Thanks Johanna GGG. Yes, I had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I told Tiffany this morning that every day I spend with her is my Valentine's Day.

    I cannot remember that Kelloggs campaign here in the states. However, I honestly don't believe expressions such as "simple" or "healthy" are conducive to sales here in the Southeast U.S. The words "fast" (McDaffies, Wembys, etc.) and "quick" (over-processed, nutrition-free) tend to sell more on this side of the pond.

    Give a man a carrot and he'll eat it. Teach the man to grow carrots and he'll be back 6-months later asking whether you've got another carrot for him this day.

    I love fresh ravioli. After making it one time, I quickly decided that having someone else go through the steps was more my style. I looked at fresh pasta machines myself and still occasionally have a hankering to buy one. But, now that I've got a local supplier of delicious fresh pasta, why?

    Uh-oh! Maybe Chucky can't be taught to grow carrots?

    Thanks for the comments and I'll be watching your blog for pasta lessons soon! Have an absolute wonderful & healthy day!