Here’s something I’ve always wondered: when baking pasta, as in, say, lasagna or baked ziti, why do you always cook the pasta first? Aren’t you inviting trouble by cooking it once, then proceeding to put it in a casserole and cooking it again? Well, there’s the obvious first part of the answer to this question: pasta needs to absorb water as it cooks—a lot of water, around 80 percent of its own weight when perfectly al dente. So, add raw pasta directly to a baked pasta dish, and it will soften all right—it’ll also suck up all of the moisture from the sauce, leaving it dry or broken.
I thought the pasta drew moisture from the sauce. It does… resulting in dry sauce. I’ve always wondered about those pastas marketed as not needing to be boiled first—how are they different from regular pasta or is this just some marketing ploy? Anyway, traditionally recipes recommend boiling the pasta first.
From State Fair monstrosities like deep-fried lobster on a stick to fattening fast food, we’re viewed as gluttons who can’t get enough fat, sugar, and salt. But it’s not all deep-fried butter and Papa John’s garlic sauce that disgusts our foreign friends.
An AskReddit thread asked non-American Reddit users which American foods they considered gross or weird, and some of the responses were kitchen staples that many Americans would consider normal.
You have a robotic cooking machine, and you may not even know it. Dust off your bread machine, or go buy a bread maker from the second hand shop for a few dollars. They can be used for a lot more than just bread. Main courses, desserts, appetizers and drinks can all be made with this versatile, under-utilized machine.
You can use a bread machine for so much more than the obvious stuff: bread or pizza dough. Pretty much anything you need to stir and heat is fair game. My favorite idea is using it for soup (just toss in the ingredients and go), but hit up the site for suggestions on casseroles, sauces, breakfast, and snacks.