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02 November 2012
Cooking quick, tasty and healthy meals after a long day juggling work and childcare can be a challenge. Chef Alvaro Maccioni is the face of Parioli, a range of authentic home-grown Italian ingredients available exclusively at Tesco, and he has created an assortment of recipes from his own family cookbook to encourage families to get in the kitchen.Pasta is a great store cupboard standby, as it’s versatile and cooks quickly. Alvaro shares his secrets to cooking it perfectly every time:- Always serve pasta al dente and never reheat it- Once the pasta is cooked, add a dash of cold water to the pan of boiling water; this will stop the cooking process, preventing the pasta from being overdone- Always add fresh ingredients to bought jar sauce in order to complement and enhance the flavour. E.g if the sauce has a mushroom base, add some extra chopped, fresh mushrooms. Similarly, if it is a spicy Arrabiata sauce, you can either throw in some fresh tomato to cool it down, or some fresh, chopped chilli to heat it up.- It’s easy to add too much sauce, which drowns the pasta. The sauce should merely complement it. An ideal ratio is one small ladle full of sauce for every portion of pasta.- To ensure the sauce coats the pasta evenly, always put the sauce in a dish first, then add the pasta and toss. Tips to snazz up side dishes - With olives, sundried tomatoes or artichokes, it’s best to remove them from the oil they have been marinating in and drizzle them with fresh olive oil before serving, this will rejuvenate and freshen the taste- Remove sun dried tomatoes from the oil they have been marinating in and wrap each tomato around a leaf of fresh basil, close the tomato around the basil leaf, to form a sandwich and squeeze together to remove excess oil. Arrange the tomatoes on a dish and drizzle with fresh olive oil. This will complement and enhance the tomato flavour.- Add some finely chopped chive or spring onion, chopped garlic and a small amount of chilli to jarred olives, before drizzling with olive oil and serve. This will bring out the full flavour of the olives.Arrabiata & pasta Serves 5 Alvaro’s added ingredients: 50g bell peppers, 100g fresh cherry tomatoesParioli ingredients: 500g penne pasta, 1 jar Arrabiata sauce, 50cl Olive oil1. Drizzle the olive oil into a hot frying pan2. Add the finely chopped bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes, until just soft3. Add the Arrabiata sauce and cherry tomatoes together. Cook for a further 2 minutes4. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain, toss with the sauce and serveWant more? Have a go at a tasty conchiglie vegetable bolognese, here's how to do it:
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