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crazy pasta recipe?

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In the new Martha Stewart Living there is a recipe where you put dry uncooked spaghetti, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, water & basil in a pot & cook it all together so the pasta cooks & a sauce forms. Has anyone tried this?

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  1. Sounds like a risotto. I wonder if this works too.
    It just goes against my held theories of cooking pasta, namely, no oil while cooking, to al dente, and adding the sauce to finish the pasta at the end.

    1. Yes, I've done versions of this, taking a handful of dried pasta, garlic, oil, and assorted random vegetables and/or meat products, adding some water, and cooking it all together. It takes some watching and futzing, because you need to keep adding bits of water as the pasta cooks, but in general, it works pretty well. The final product is different than if you cooked pasta separate, made a sauce in another pan, and then combined the two. Here, it's a bit starchier, thicker final product. Under some circumstances, this method works very well.

      1. I do it with broken bits of thin spaghetti, but add stock instead of water. I brown the pasta in olive oil first (oil in which I've already sauteed at least onions and garlic, which are reserved and added later). I gradually add the stock as one would with risotto. It needs attention, but every strand is full of flavor.

        1. I have not tried that one but I have made Cook's Illustrated Skillet Lasagna numerous times and it's sort of the same. Like foreverhungry mentioned, it has a different consistency than pasta cooked in plain water, but it's still good.

          1. Iv'e made American Chop Suey like that. Along these lines, only I don't sautee the macaroni first.

            http://debbiekoenig.com/2004/11/28/am...

            1. Almost the same as Catalan FideuĂ 

              4 Replies
              1. re: chefj

                yes, there is an italian version of this too, with broken pieces of spaghetti, sauteed til bits are browned, then stock is added. the pot is covered til the pasta is finished and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    my brain is telling me the stuff i ate growing up was called fidellini, but the web just shows that as a pasta shape. am guessing it's close in name to yours.

                1. Thanks, your responses so far gave me the confidence to try it & it was delicious & easy!

                  1. Its like cooking in a slow cooker, but it does work, although you run the risk of gummy pasta, but I've done a take on a minestrone using this method.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: suburbanite889

                      the pasta is actually "seared", so very little starch leaks out and it only cooks for 10 or so minutes. i have never tried cooking it in a crockpot, but i don't think this method is anything like that.

                    2. I think that should work pretty well. My only concern would be the spaghetti not getting enough contact with water -- maybe you could do it in a skillet or saute pan so that there's enough room?

                      I regularly cook a variant of the Mac and Cheese from "Modernist Cuisine," which I do with a low water and cold start method:

                      150g of pasta (I like campanelle)
                      300g of cold water
                      1.5g of salt

                      All into a cold saucepan. Stirred, covered, allowed to boil, stirred again, reduced to simmer, and stirred maybe once or twice more. I give it a couple of minutes less time, after the boil, than whatever the box lists as al dente. Then I mix in the cheese mixture (high quality cheese put through a process similar to how Velveeta is made, so that it melts extremely evenly). Nothing is drained in this method -- the leftover water becomes part of the sauce.

                      The pasta cooks perfectly, and the entire process is very quick due to the fact that you don't need to boil a huge amount of water. There is no gumminess, no sticking together, nor any other of the various negatives that are generally mentioned by cooking show hosts and writers who talk about not using enough water. At least, none that I can detect.

                      I am of the opinion that prior to discovering this methodology I'd been doing it wrong all of these years. (Huge amount of salted water, draining everything, etc.) I don't think this would work with long pasta shapes, due to the fact that there wouldn't be enough contact with the water. But I definitely recommend giving it a shot with shorter shapes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        Yes, they recommend a high sided skillet and it worked perfectly. You have to stir a lot at the beginning to keep the pasta from sticking together.

                      2. I have a recipe I finish cooking pasta in. I start with leftover beef(roast or steak) and brown it further with onions and garlic. Then I add a couple of cups of beef broth, seasonings. Then, while that is going I cook pasta for just a few minutes and then drain and transfer to my meat/broth pot and let it finish in there. I find it helps get some starch out and prevents a sticky pasta.

                        1. One of the blogs I read made it and posted it today: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/05/it...