Americans consume almost 20 pounds of pasta per person annually. Before you say, "that's a lot of pasta", remember that's small potatoes compared to the Italians who eat a whopping 62 pounds per year. With consumption rising 5% annually in the U.S. we may soon catch up, especially with the exciting new recipes from Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison's Hot Pasta.
Featuring one-hundred easy-to-prepare pasta recipes, Hot Pasta draws on the best of Chinese, Thai, Indian, American Southwest, New Orleans, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines, creating innovative recipes by borrowing and combining flavors from each. The results are imaginative dishes such as Pasta Marrakech, Southwest Pasta with Smoked Chicken, and Chinese Peanut Noodle Salad, alongside more traditionally Mediterranean -inspired pastas such as Pasta with Olives, Tomatoes, and Artichokes.
Hot Pasta is the third book in Carpenter's "Hot" (meaning sometimes spicy, and always boldly flavored) series which includes Hot Wok and Hot Chicken. Following the winning formula of the first two books, Hot Pasta is a consumer-friendly cookbook making use of everyday equipment, simple preparation steps and common cooking techniques.
In keeping with Carpenter's dedication to simplicity, each of the book's 50 recipes are broken down into user-friendly sections: Ingredients, Sauce, Advance Preparation, Final Steps, and Suggested Accompaniments. Chapters begin with a page of tips on how to prepare pasta with the chapter's primary ingredient-vegetables, seafood or meat. Best of all, most recipes take less than 30 minutes to prepare. To provide presentation ideas, half of the recipes are illustrated with full-color photographs from award-winning food photographer Teri Sandison.
Woven throughout each chapter are informational sections with handy advice for making fool-proof pasta, including: Necessary Cookware for Hot Pasta; Perfectly Cooked Hot Pastas; Hot Pasta Tips (pasta types and what they are best served with); How to Make Perfect Homemade Hot Pasta; and Hot Pasta Through the Ages (pasta history and lore); and more. Especially handy is a section called Quick Hot Pasta Recipes-eleven startlingly easy pasta sauces that provide the basis for the readers' own culinary ingenuity. To sauces such as a Curried Pasta, Southwest Pasta, Thai Coconut Pasta and Moroccan Pasta, home chefs can simply add their favorite primary ingredients (vegetables, seafood, etc.).
Hot Pasta's chapters include:
Hot Pasta's internationally inspired flavor combinations are guaranteed to deliver surprises for even the most seasoned pasta lover.
This Thai version of the northern Chinese classic has many variations. In place of the ground veal, try substituting ground chicken, pork, lamb or raw minced shrimp or salmon. Vary the flavor of the sauce. Substitute freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice for the coconut milk. Omit the curry powder. Use a blend of chopped mint, basil, cilantro, and chives. Or add 1 teaspoon of finely minced lime zest. Any of these variations will make you a culinary hero.
Serves 6 to 10 as an appetizer or 4 as the main entree
In a bowl, combine the green onions, ginger, veal, oyster sauce, rice wine, and chile sauce. Mix thoroughly. Place 2 teaspoons filling in the center of a wrapper. (If using square wonton wrappers, trim them into circles.) Bring edges of wrapper up around filling and encircle the dumpling "waist" with your index finger and thumb. Squeeze the waist gently with that same index finger, while also pressing the top and the bottom of the dumpling with your other index finger and thumb. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, dust paper heavily with cornstarch, place the dumplings on the baking sheet, and refrigerate uncovered.
Set aside the cooking oil. Combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. All advance preparation steps may be completed up to 8 hours before you begin the final cooking steps.
Final Cooking Steps
Place a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Add cooking oil and immediately add dumplings bottom side down. Fry dumplings until bottoms become dark golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in sauce. Immediately cover pan, reduce heat to medium, and steam dumplings until they are firm to the touch about 2 minutes.Shake the pan so that the dumplings "capsize" and are glazed all over with the sauce. Tip out onto a heated serving platter or 4 heated dinner plates. Serve at once.
Roasted baby beets, a Cobb salad, and raspberries with Grand Marnier truffles.
We love complex-tasting sauces that take only minutes to prepare. For example, here a large amount of cilantro is combined with other seasonings in a blender and then liquefied. During cooking, cream and the water from steaming the clams are added so that the sauce acquires a wonderful rich seafood taste. It's important to use steamer clams, which open after about a minute of steaming and are very tender. The large cherrystone and littleneck clams will be tough, and canned clams will ruin the dish.
Serves 4 as the main entree
Scrub the clams and refrigerate. Shell, devein, and split the shrimp nearly in half lengthwise. In separate containers, set aside the pasta, oil, and cheese.
To make the sauce, place all the sauce ingredients except the cream in an electric blender and blend at highest speed until completely liquefied.Transfer to a container, stir in the cream, and refrigerate. All advanced preparation steps may be completed up to 8 hours before you begin the final cooking steps.
Final Cooking Steps
Grate the cheese, about 1/2 cup. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Lightly salt the water, then cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. When the pasta loses its raw taste but is still slightly firm, remove from the heat and drain.
Meanwhile, place a small colander lined with cheesecloth in a bowl. Place a 12- or 14-inch sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/4 inch of water. When the water comes to a rapid boil, add the clams, cover and steam until all the clams open, about 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately tip the clams into the colander lined with cheesecloth. Then add 3/4 cup of the clam-steaming water to the cilantro sauce.
Return the empty sauté pan to high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil becomes hot, add the shrimp. Stir and toss until the shrimp turn white. Add the cilantro sauce. When the cilantro sauce comes to a boil and thickens slightly, add the clams (but not the remaining liquid in the bowl) and combine evenly with the sauce.
Place the pasta on a heated platter or 4 heated dinner plates. Spoon the seafood and sauce on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and serve at once.
A green bean and walnut salad and a ginger-praline mousse.
By Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison
Photographs by Teri Sandison
Ten Speed Press
112 pages, 10 x 10
color photography throughout
Publication date: August 15, 1996
Price: $17.95 paper
Reprinted with permission
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified February 2007
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