magic pasta | Seronet

Ma qué, what are these magic pastas?

The idea is to cook pasta, vegetables and meat or fish, legumes and aromatic garnish in the same dish, with water or water plus tomato sauce. This idea of ​​”one pot pasta” was launched by an Italian chef. The starch released by the pasta during cooking, mixed with the other ingredients, will create a creamy sauce. In record time and just one cooking time, fifteen to twenty minutes, you get delicious complete and original pasta dishes, with unique dishes (the bowl).

Magic pasta has only advantages:
– The dish is economical because you can use resources from the cupboard or leftovers from the fridge;
– The range of variety is endless: you can create your own combinations, according to your tastes, according to the season, according to the ingredients you have or according to the occasion for which you are cooking;
– In this simple, quick and tasty cuisine, it is easier to control the quality of the ingredients, the freshness of the meat and vegetables, the salt level and the amount of fat, than in ready-made industrial dishes.
– The only condition is to cut the vegetables and meat into small pieces for faster and even cooking.
– Difficult to miss them, even if you are a novice in the kitchen, but it is necessary to respect the procedure, control the level of liquid, the cooking and stir from time to time to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
– You can prepare more, eat the next day and freeze some for the evenings of “coming home late and exhausted”, they will be “buono gusto”.

What types of pasta to choose?

The imperative condition is to choose dry pasta without eggs, of very good quality, for good resistance to rapid cooking and starting in cold water; therefore, avoid fresh pasta, spätzle, quick-cooking pasta and egg pasta which would soften. Well-known brands of Italian pasta offer many varieties of durum wheat pasta, without eggs, which can be interchanged in recipes: surf spaghetti with tripoline, penne with fusilli, piperigate with torghietti, conchiglie with linguine, etc. . It is also possible to use gluten-free pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, rice. You can also prefer pasta with wholemeal flour, but without eggs, and you have to test if they require more cooking (taste them after fifteen minutes).

What ingredients go with pasta?

Almost anything can work! Choose seasonal vegetables, fresh, to cut into small pieces. Any fresh meat can accompany them, minced; also any chunk fish or seafood, as well as detailed charcuterie.

Frozen vegetables will save you time because they are usually already minced and they are often more economical. Canned vegetables are also welcome, some will melt when cooked, but will give you a very good sauce (ex: can of ratatouille).

Pieces of already cooked meat can be added to the preparation five minutes before the end of the cooking time. Similarly, shrimp already cooked and shelled will be added at the end.

What liquids to use?

You need water (3/4 liter for four people), possibly with a vegetable or chicken stock cube added, but cold at the start, so as not to soften the pasta too quickly, and often tomato sauce already ready. Check after eight minutes of cooking if the pasta has not absorbed all the liquid; in this case, add a little water (one glass).

What can be added to increase and improve the taste?

You need a little fat. Again, the choice is yours: olive oil (or other), butter, mascarpone or heavy cream must be added (1 tablespoon for two, two for four people). The sauce will be smooth and dense.

Herbs will enhance this sauce. It’s up to you to choose according to your tastes or the resources of the fridge and cupboard: garlic, onion, shallot, fine herbs, thyme, basil, coriander, mint, etc.

Spices will flavor everything, bringing character or exoticism: cumin, Espelette pepper, ginger, turmeric, paprika, etc.

An original or spicy note can be given with typical charcuterie (chorizo, smoked sausage, merguez, etc.) or a full-bodied cheese, such as Roquefort.

In which container to cook?

A large saucepan (if possible with a thick bottom) may be suitable or a casserole, or a stainless steel stewpot or a sauté pan with fairly high edges, it is also depending on the number of guests, according to your provisions in bowls and the quantity of vegetables you want to put in the recipe… If it’s a large saucepan, you need a low heat and stir regularly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. A thick-bottomed casserole supports a medium heat. We used a stainless steel Dutch oven and a cast iron casserole dish, both with thick bottoms.

How to cook?

– First place the pasta in a large saucepan or casserole dish. Then add all the other ingredients. Finish with water, then stir.
– Start cooking, covered, over fairly high heat; as soon as it boils, remove the lid, reduce the heat to low, so that only two centimeters of water remain after fifteen minutes of cooking. Stir from time to time so that the bottom does not stick.
– Stop the heat after fifteen minutes of cooking, after having tasted the pasta and checked their degree of cooking. Cover and let steam cook for five minutes.
– Do not hesitate to prepare a larger quantity than for a meal: the surplus freezes perfectly and/or keeps very well for three days in the fridge (verified by us, freezing and storage).

Many recent books present this new magic pasta with tempting recipes and beautiful photos. We were inspired by it for our (successful!) tests: “Incredible magic pasta”, by Véronique Cauvin, Solar editions (7.50 euros). “Magic pasta”, by Sabrina Fauda-role, Marabout editions (7.99 euros) and “One pot pasta”, by Emilie Perrin, Hachette Pratique editions (7.99 euros).

Our recipes for four people

Magic Mediterranean

• 300 g of penne pasta (dry pasta without eggs)
• 300 g of tuna fillets in oil (preferably olive)
• 1 or 2 tbsp of oil from the tuna can
• 300 g chickpeas in a jar or can, drained and rinsed
• 250 g of cherry tomatoes
• ½ red pepper and 1/2 yellow pepper (or 1 pepper of one color), in strips
• 250 g green beans (or snow peas), cut
• 1 onion and 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp pepper
• 10 basil leaves + a few for serving
• 75 cl (3/4 l) of water
• 100 g of capers (optional but delicious)

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, following the order listed (pasta first). Cook for fifteen minutes over low heat, removing the lid as soon as it boils, stirring regularly; at the end, two centimeters of liquid should remain. Turn off the heat, cover and steam for five minutes. Serve garnished with remaining basil leaves.

Spicy magic farfalle

• 300 g of farfalle, tricolor or not, but without eggs
• 2 chicken breasts (chicken or turkey, 350 to 400 g)
• 1 strong chorizo, sliced
• 1 sliced ​​fennel
• 1 zucchini
• ½ red pepper
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp. pepper
• 2 tbsp of olive oil
• 75 cl (3/4 l) of water

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan or casserole dish, following the order listed. Cook for fifteen minutes over low heat, removing the lid as soon as it boils, stirring regularly; at the end, two centimeters of liquid should remain. Turn off the heat, cover and steam for five minutes.

Magic Nest Dumplings

• 300 g spaghetti n°5 (dry pasta without eggs)
• 12 to 16 meatballs, prepared and frozen (or homemade)
• 350 g cooked tomato sauce
• 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 small or 1 large zucchini, sliced
• 4 to 6 sliced ​​mushrooms
• ½ red pepper or 2 tomatoes, in strips
• 2 bay leaves, 4 sprigs of thyme
• 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp paprika
• 75 cl (3/4 l) of water
• 2 tbsp oil
• grated parmesan to serve (optional, we don’t)

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan in the order listed. Cook for fifteen minutes, removing the lid as soon as it boils, lower the heat, stirring regularly; at the end, two centimeters of liquid should remain. Turn off the heat, cover and steam for five minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan to serve (optional). You can also prepare the meatballs yourself: mix 300 g of vegetable stuffing (or other minced meat) with 2 tbsp of stale bread crumbs soaked in milk or water, 1 egg, 1 tbsp cornstarch, salt, pepper, spices. Shape into meatballs and dust lightly with flour. If you cook them before, only put them in the bowl ten minutes before the end.

Magic Sea Pasta

• 300 g fusilli (dry pasta without eggs)
• 4 small filleted mackerel (about 350 g), smoked or not (or any other fish in pieces)
• 12 cooked and peeled prawns or anchovies marinated in oil
• ½ sweet potato in small wedges
• 1 zucchini sliced ​​(or ½ broccoli detailed)
• 1 sliced ​​fennel
• ½ jar of tomato sauce or 3 chopped tomatoes
• 1 chopped onion
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp ground or whole cumin
• 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
• 75 cl (3/4 l) of water
• 2 tbsp oil

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan, following the order of the list, except the shrimps already cooked. Cook for fifteen minutes, removing the lid as soon as it boils, over low heat, stirring regularly; at the end, two centimeters of liquid should remain. Turn off the heat, add the prawns, cover and steam for five minutes.

Buon Appetito!

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