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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Short Bread Recipe

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Short Bread Recipes are one of the most enjoyable pastry available and if you are into cooking it is also one of the most simple of all the cookie recipes to make. Shortbread cookies have been around from as far back as prehistoric Scotland when food preparation in those times, compared to nowadays standards, was very crude. The original shortbread cookie recipe may have used oat flour but was eventually replaced with wheat flour when the English took it up because at that time in England, oats were thought to be animal food.  Traditional shortbread is baked round and then sliced into wedges, for the Scottish people the cuts represents the sun rays in the winter months. Today the shortbread cookie recipe is one of the most popular enjoyed year round, especially during the Christmas season. The recipe has also advanced far beyond the preliminary components like butter, sugar and flour.

Things you will need:

1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 cups of all-purpose flour (sifted)
2 grams of salt
2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
60 grams powdered icing
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions are as follows:

1. Place the melted butter into a medium sized bowl and use an electric mixer or a hand mixer to mix it out until it turns out creamy and even. Then apply the sugar first and then the vanilla extract and mix out all the elements together.

2. Mix the flour and salt into individual bowl and now steadily put in flour until all the contents are consistent in texture.

3. Massage the batter into an orb and then put it in a plastic wrap. Then put the cookie mixture into the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least an hour, even though this is optional.

4. Take out the dough from refrigerator, then flatten it into a 1/4 inch thickness.

5. Turn the oven to 177 degrees and line the baking tins with parchment paper.

6. Cut out the dough into separate cookies like rounds or whichever other shapes you desire by using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place cookies on lightly greased cookie tin and place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Then remove it out and place it in the oven for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, or until the edges have become slightly brown. This process helps to firm up the batter so the cookies will uphold their shape after being baked.

7.After taking them from the oven, put them into a cooling rack. When cool enough store the cookies in an airtight container. This mixture should be able to bake about 20 Short Bread Recipes.

Tips and Warnings

* You can use a cross section of baking containers to achieve various shape of cakes. Some persons prefer to make round cakes, square cakes, heart shapes and others.

* Feel free to try different flavorings into the mixture to bring out more flavor in your shortbread recipe. This may include extracts from chocolates, nuts, spices, dried fruits, and citrus zests. Rice flour, cornstarch. Semolina can also be applied to replace some of the flour to give a different texture.

* How good your shortbread comes out is dependent on the quality of your ingredients. Purchase the best quality unsalted butter you can get and this will produce a crispy, crumbly, buttery short bread cookie.

Written by admin

March 9th, 2011 at 2:24 am

Posted in Cooking

The Olive Garden: What You Don’t Know About Them

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I thought it would be fun to write a post that lists some little known facts about the popular restaurant The Olive Garden. Like any business that’s been around for any length of time, the Olive Garden has an interesting history that a lot of people don’t know much about.

The Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants, and it has been since 1995. That means that corporate-speaking, the Olive Garden is owned by the same company that owns and operates Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, and the Longhorn Steakhouse (among others.) And Darden Restaurants, in turn, is owned by a company you may have heard of–General Mills. If you like Yoplait yogurt, or Betty Crocker baking mixes, or Pillsbury biscuits, then you’re a fan of General Mills and you probably didn’t even know it.

The first Olive Garden was opened in Orlando, Florida in 1982. But you wouldn’t recognize that restaurant as an Olive Garden like we know Olive Gardens. Their main product at the time was an unlimited bowl of salad. The salad is still important, but the menu has expanded through the years to include casual Italian-American cuisine, and their soups and breadsticks are as important to their menu now as the salad was then.

The United States is home to over 700 Olive Garden restaurants now. Doing a little bit of math, you can easily figure out that over the last couple of decades, they’ve opened (on average) two new restaurants every month. That’s not a bad track record for a restaurant business.

And if you watch television, then I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of Olive Garden commercials. Commercial time on television isn’t cheap. That should tell you something about how profitable this restaurant chain is, even though their food is very affordable. Their secret to profitability? Most of their food is VERY inexpensive. Salad, breadsticks, and pasta are some of the most affordable ingredients you can buy. And people will pay well for them if they’re prepared well.

Who’s competing with the Olive Garden? I can only think of a couple of chains:

  • Maggianos
  • Macaroni Grill

But neither of these restaurants offer the affordable and casual atmosphere of an Olive Garden. Maggianos serves tremendous portions, and I like their food better than Olive Garden’s food. But you pay for this at Maggianos–it’s not nearly as inexpensive as the Olive Garden. Macaroni Grill’s food isn’t as good as Maggianos, but it’s a step up from the Olive Garden. But in neither case can you get the kind of food quantity for your money that you’ll get from Olive Garden, especially when there are so many Olive Garden coupons available. You can learn more about Olive Garden coupons here too.

Written by randy

February 28th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Cooking,Food and Drink

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How to Make Plain Butter Cookies

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Butter cookies are delicious, soft, yummy, confectionaries that everybody loves. The advantage of butter cookies is, they can be made anytime and also they are very easy to make.  They can also be baked in flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and so on.

How to Make Plain Butter Cookies:

1)1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted, softened butter
2)2 cups all-purpose flour
3)1/2 tsp baking powder
4)1 large egg
5)1 cup sugar
6)1/2 tsp vanilla
7)1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl and mix it thoroughly.
In another (slightly larger bowl) use a mixer to mix together the butter and sugar. The resulting mixture should be fluffy and pale. It needs to be whisked for some time (6 minutes)
Next, the vanilla and the egg extract must be added. Slowly, add flour to the equation and keep stirring gently
Now the dough to prepare the cookies is ready. Shape the dough with the dimensions of 12 inches long and 2 inch thick. Cover the mixture in a polythene and keep it refrigerated for 4 hours.
Before putting the frozen dough, heat the microwave oven upto 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
From the whole mesh of dough, a heavy knife needs to be used to cut them into cookie shape. The ideal width for cookies can be 1/4 inch thick. Next, they need to be placed on ungreased baking paper and one may garnish them as per need.
The cookies need to be baked till they are or look golden, for approximately 15 minutes. They need to be cooled for approximately 3 minutes
The left over cookie dough can be used to make more cookies or can be wrapped in a polythene cover and can be chilled till 5 days
The cookies can be garnished by chocolates by melting some chocolate pieces and then added after cooling the cookies, as garnishing.

How to Make German Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1)6 cups flour
2)1/4 tsp. Salt
3)1 1/2 tbsp. Ground cinnamon
4)2 1/4 cup sugar
5)1 lb. Butter, softened
6)1/2 cup fruity white wine, such as riesling
7)3 eggs, 1 slightly beaten

Mix the flour, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl
Whisk the butter thoroughly with an electric mixer, then 2 cups of sugar should be added and beat, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Both the eggs need to be beaten, one at a time, followed by the dry ingredients and wine.
The dough needs to be divided into 5 equal parts which have to be flattened, wrapped in plastic and put in the refrigerator for a night
The oven needs to be preheated till 350 degrees. Next, the dough needs to be rolled out, on about 1/4″ width floured surface. The dough needs to be cut with cookie cutters and transferred to greased cookie sheets
The remaining dough can be brushed with remaining eggs, sprinkled with a little sugar, and baked in batches, until turn golden. The cookies then need to be transferred to a wire rack and cooled completely. The best time for sampling cookies is one week after baking them.

It is fairly easy to make butter cookies if one has an inclination towards culinaries and has enough time to learn something new.

Read here for more information on: No Bake Cookies

Written by admin

December 16th, 2010 at 6:08 am

How to Grill Salmon

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Salmon on the grill is a basic preparation that is hard to glitch up once you know what you are doing. It basically takes a few minutes of grilling time to get the perfect savory flavor that salmon can offer.  It always best to procure salmon that has the skin on it when you are cooking by grill. Before that you have to know how to grill salmon.

There are multiple ways to prepare salmon for grilling, like using a little salt and pepper and some olive oil which is by far the easiest technique of preparation.  Mayonnaise can also be applied to one side of the salmon before putting on the grill.

For a  marinade, whip together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and 2 tablespoons mustard. Brush the marinade on top of the fish (skin side down) before laying salmon on the grill. When your salmon is through grilling, pour the last of the marinade on top. This is adequate marinade for three pounds of salmon, or 5-6 servings.

The first main point to a good grilled salmon is to assemble the grill the right way.  The grill should be medium-hot when you place the fish on it.   If using a charcoal grill, coals should be bright red and flames should have decrease before the fish is placed on the grill.

Accumulate the coals to the side so there is a ‘hot’ area and a ‘warm’ area. With a gas grill fix temperature between 300 and 325 degrees.   To test grill temperature place your hand 4 inches above the grill and start counting the seconds. If you do keep your hand over the grill for 4-5 seconds, the grill is medium hot. If you have to move your hand in 2-3 seconds, the temperature needs to be lowered.

Lay the salmon on the warm area of the grill.  Spin the salmon over after 3 – 5 minutes. Allow it to cook on the other side for 3 minutes. merely cover the grill if you have a gas grill, but this is discretional.  Place the salmon on the hottest part of the grill to get grill marks on it – about a minute on each side.  Do not overcook the salmon.

When you removeyour salmon fillets from the grill, they will continue to cook a little as they sit,  so they should look a little bawdy inside upon removal from the grill. To ascertain doneness, touch the fish: if it’s a bit soft it’s not done, but if it’s firm with some give, it is medium rare.  Absolutely firm is fully done.

Read here for more information on how to cook salmon.

Written by admin

October 17th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Grilling Tips – How to Grill Pork Chops

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Grilling is a delicious appetizing way of preparing pork chops permitting you to incorporate an assortment of flavors like honey mustard, barbecue, Cajun, Mexican, French, Italian, Asian and more.  To acquire the ideal pork chops certain steps must be employed.

Lets learn some steps on how to grill pork chops:

Brining is a good way to add moisture to any meat and is especially good with pork specially with thicker cuts of meat which are appropriate for brining rather than thinner cuts.  Brine is a salt water mixture (about 1 tablespoon table salt to a cup of water) that gets soaked up by meat. Brining thick cut pork chops should take 2 to 4 hours; when brining do not use any other salt-based ingredient.

Marinades are chosen for thinner chops. Marinades cannot sink into meat like brine will but it gives a protective layer to the meat. A great example of a simple marinade is Italian Dressing which contains oil, vinegar and water as well as herbs and spices. Thin chops can be acceptably marinated in 30 minutes. The marinade will tenderize the meat and protect it from the intense heat of the grill.

An alternate to the brines and marinades is a dry rub which is applied by seasoning the top of your chops with herbs and spice (or salt and pepper). This will not add moisture or help to tenderize the chops but it will give a lot of flavor.   Brine can be combined with dry rub, but be sure there is no salt in the dry rub.

Thin chops should be grilled hot and fast over an acute heat, turnning over as little as possible. Preheat the grill to the most optimum temperature. Put the chops on the grill and lock the lid for one minute. Open the lid and spin the chops 45 degrees without flipping. Close the lid for another minute.  Toss the chops over and close the lid again. After a minute spin the chops 45 degrees and finish off.  Cooking time is approximately 5 minutes.

Thick chops will need a slower heat to get them cooked without drying them out.  Preheat to highest temperature grill.  Put the chops on the grill and close the lid. After one minute open the grill and turn the chops. Close the lid for one minute. Now turn down the heat on the grill to medium.  Rotate the chops and let them cook for about 3 more minutes with the lid down.  Turn the chops over and go ahead with cooking for about 4 more minutes. Turn your grill down to its minimum setting.

Once the chops are cooked as required, remove and arrange them on a plate and cover with aluminum foil for 5 to 10 minutes to let them rest to allow the juice to redistribute in the meat.

Read here for more information on how to bake pork chops.

Written by admin

October 15th, 2010 at 1:07 am

Butternut Squash Recipes

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BUTTER NUT SQUASH RECIPES

Butter nut squash is a kind of winter squash having a sweet, nutty taste like the taste of a pumpkin. It is a big oblong-shaped vegetable which grows on a vine. It is made of orange fleshy pulp that is contained by yellow skin. When it is ripe, it becomes orange – the riper it becomes, the deeper the orange colour and it becomes sweeter and richer in taste. The seeds can also be consumed whether raw or roasted. In Australia and New Zealand, the butter nut squash is known as Butter nut pumpkin.

Butter nut squash can be used to prepare a number of delicious meals. It can be used in the following ways:

Butternut Squash Recipes

Roasted

Pureed and used to create soups

Grilled

To create casseroles

To prepare bread and muffins

Here are a few recommendations of meals that can be made with butter nut squash.

#1 – BUTTER NUT CASSEROLE

The first thing to do is to cook a butter nut squash.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked butter nut squash, pureed and drained

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ melted butter

8 ounces crushed pineapple with the juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup chopped walnuts (pecans can also be used)

Tools:

Casserole dish

Bowl

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 325°

2.Use butter to grease a casserole dish and put it aside.

3.Mix the crushed butternut squash, sugar, melted butter, crushed pineapple, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg together in a bowl.

4.Mix totally and pour into the greased casserole dish.

5.Scatter the walnuts on top.

6.Put in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes.

#2 – BUTTER NUT SQUASH PUDDING

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups butter nut squash cooked and mashed

2 eggs

14 ounces evaporated milk

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Tools:

Whisk

Mixing bowl

1 ½ quart baking tin

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 325.

2.Crack eggs and pour into mixing bowl. Use the whisk and whisk the eggs until well blended.

3.Add the squash and beat the mixture until smooth.

4.Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and put in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. For best results, put the baking tin in a larger oven-proof pan with water 1 -2 inches deep.

#3 – BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRIES

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butter nut squash

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Tools:

Sharp knife

Foil paper

Baking sheet

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.Peel your butter nut squash, get rid of the seeds and slice the squash into long strips to make fries.

3.Spread foil paper over a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray.

4.Arrange the slices on the sheet in a single coat.

5.Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt to taste.

6.Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Fries should be lightly golden, crispy on the exterior and moist on the interior. Serve when hot.

The best technique to bring out the flavor is by roasting it. Use a vegetable peeler and get rid of the skin then cut the squash into cubes. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a cookie sheet for approximately 40 minutes. Serve as a side dish. You can also mash or puree the roasted squash in a food processor and add it to your favourite soup.

Let’s learn how to cook butternut squash at home.

Written by admin

June 9th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Cooking

How to Hard Boil an Egg – Quick and Easy Way

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Making perfect hard boiled eggs actually comes with an art. A number of persons figure that boiling the egg actually means to let the eggs stay in boiling water for some time. This is not so, as the eggs can be overcooked creating a gray-green color. Also the selection of eggs decides how simply the eggs will peel once they are cooked.

Fresh eggs are not the acceptable choice for hard-boiling. See that the eggs are several days old. Hard boiling farm fresh eggs will customarily lead to eggs that are hard to peel. If you have boiled a batch that are difficult to peel, crack the eggs all around and lay them to soak in cold water for a number of minutes. This will cause the water to enter betweenthe eggs and their shell so they are easier to peel.

Lay the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by at least an inch or two of cold water. Commencing with cold water and slowly bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking. including a tablespoon of vinegar to the water will help keep the egg whites from running out of any eggs that happen to crack while cooking. Adding a half teaspoon of salt will hinder cracking and make the eggs easier to peel. Place the burner on high and bring the eggs to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, take awaythe pan from the heat for a couple of seconds.

Lower the heat, and return the pan to the burner. Let simmer for one minute then take the pan from the heat, cover, and let rest for 12 minutes. If you are doing a large bunch of eggs, you can check for doneness after 10 minutes by cracking one egg. If it isn’t done, cook the other eggs a minute or two more. The eggs should be done perfectly at 10 minutes, but there are factors which may have an affect on the timing. These consist of the shape of the sauce pan, size and number eggs and amount of water in pan. This check will also abolish the overcooking of the eggs.

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water (this is if you have a lot of eggs) or strain out the water from the pan, and refresh with cold water. Repeat until eggs are cool.

Peel the eggs if ready for eating or store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 5 days.

Written by admin

March 9th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Cooking

Delicious Grilled Shrimp Recipe

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Did you know that shrimp come in more than 300 variety? While there may be a basic understanding of the kinds of shrimp being sold in the supermarket as cooked or raw, there are more names that can be added to shrimp. However, these names are not specie, but are instead just synonyms. For instance prawn and scampi are synonyms for shrimp while gulf shrimp simply indicates where the shrimp originated.

Prawns

Now, what is the difference between a prawn and a shrimp? None, a prawn is a shrimp and vice versa. Some areas and even some countries refer to them prawns, while others call them shrimp. Some regions use the word prawn to describe an especially large shrimp. Other places just refer to them as large shrimp.

Scampi

This is another troublesome term. The waters off Italy are home to a crustacean called scampi, and in Italian the word is actually one word for shrimp. But the dish we call shrimp scampi, refers to any type of shrimp cooked with garlic and butter or olive oil.

Enthusiastic fishing has made these crustaceans rare today and what is often caught as scampi are actually another type of shrimp called a Norwegian shrimp, or even a Dublin Bay prawn. True scampi are actually not even technically shrimp, since they have large front pincers, making them lobsters.

So, truly there are two main categories of shrimp: freshwater shrimp and saltwater shrimp. The freshwater types of shrimp grow comparatively large and are often treated like lobsters, that is, they are transported live, and cooked like lobsters. Saltwater shrimp sub classify into cold water or warm water types depending on where they live.

Now that you know a bit about shrimp, it is time to take a look at a tasty way to cook it. Grilling shrimp is one of the easiest ways of cooking shrimp and ensures a tasty meal for you and your family.

Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients

2 lb. Fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

½ cup olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

1 tbs Worcestershire

1 tbsp dill weed

½ tsp salt

Directions

1.Thaw shrimp if frozen

2.Mix together following 8 ingredients

3.Place shrimp in a plastic bag; set in a deep bowl

4.Pour marinade over shrimp, close bag

5.Marinate for 3 to 4 hours

6.Drain shrimp, keep back marinade

7.Place shrimp on skewers

8.Grill over hot coals for 10 minutes, turning and basting with reserved marinade

9.When shrimp is opaque, they are done.

Written by admin

March 5th, 2010 at 1:03 am

Posted in Cooking

Grilled Shrimp Recipe

without comments

Did you know that shrimp come in over 300 variety? While there may be a general understanding of the types of shrimp being sold in the supermarket as cooked or raw, there are more names that can be added to shrimp. However, these labels are not specie, but are instead just synonyms. For instance prawn and scampi are synonyms for shrimp while gulf shrimp only indicates where the shrimp came from.

Prawns

Now, what is the distinction between a prawn and a shrimp? None, a prawn is a shrimp and vice versa. Some regions and even some countries call them prawns, while others refer to them shrimp. Some locations use the word prawn to describe a really large shrimp. Other regions simply refer to them as large shrimp.

Scampi

This is another tricky term. The waters off Italy are home to a crustacean called scampi, and in Italian the word is actually one word for shrimp. But the dish we call shrimp scampi, refers to any type of shrimp cooked with garlic and butter or olive oil.

Enthusiastic fishing has made these crustaceans rare today and what is often caught as scampi are actually another type of shrimp called a Norwegian shrimp, or even a Dublin Bay prawn. True scampi are actually not even technically shrimp, since they have big front pincers, making them lobsters.

So, really there are two main classifications of shrimp: freshwater shrimp and saltwater shrimp. The freshwater types of shrimp grow comparatively large and are often treated like lobsters, that is, they are transported live, and cooked like lobsters. Saltwater shrimp sub classify into cold water or warm water kinds depending on where they live.

Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients

2 lb. Fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

½ cup olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

1 tbs Worcestershire

1 tbsp dill weed

½ tsp salt

Directions

1.Thaw shrimp if frozen

2.Combine next 8 ingredients

3.Place shrimp in a plastic bag; set in a deep bowl

4.Pour marinade over shrimp, seal bag

5.Marinate for 3 to 4 hours

6.Drain shrimp, keep back marinade

7.Put shrimp on skewers

8.Grill over hot coals for 10 minutes, turning and basting with reserved marinade

9.When shrimp turns opaque, they are done.

Written by admin

March 4th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Cooking

Alfredo Sauce Recipe Explained

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Alfredo di Lelio of Rome, Italy, is the creator of the original Alfredo Sauce. Presently there are two types of Alfredo sauce, the Italian or the American type. Italian Alfredo Sauce is strictly lots of butter and Parmesan cheese. In American restaurants, additional ingredients are added to the Italian combination, including heavy cream, sometimes nutmeg, basil, or other seasonings. Alfredo sauce is popular with fetuccine pasta, but can also be served with chicken or vegetables.

Alfredo sauce goes well with a variety of wines, including Chardonnay, Pinot, Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Instead of creating the sauce from scratch, Alfredo sauce can also be bought from the supermarket, in jars near the spaghetti sauce. Note, that persons who are lactose intolerant may not handle Alfredo sauce well.

Ingredients

2 cup cream (heavy, or 35% cream is ideal

¼ cup cold butter

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Salt

White pepper

Pasta

Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Extra parmesan cheese

Method

1.Heat a large saucepan over high heat until very hot. Add enough cold water to cover the bottom of the pan. Let the water evaporate but make sure there are a few drops left in the pan. This will keep the cream from scorching and burning on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

2.Add the cream to the pan and return it to the heat. When the cream comes to boil, lessen heat to medium or medium high and continue to boil until it is reduced by half.

3.Meanwhile cook pasta in well salted water according to package directions. Drain well when prepared.

4.when the cream is lessened remove it from the heat. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk it in. The cream will thicken and turn glossy. Add the cheese and hot pasta to the cream. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

5.Serve immediately with added parmesan if preferred.

Written by admin

March 3rd, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Cooking