Pasta A La Nothing

10 Oct

A staple. A basic. What could possibly go wrong?
Well nothing. Nothing goes wrong, but nothing actually happens either.
My pasta is tasteless and dull.  It’s nothing.

I cook it exactly as described but it still ends up like:

  • White, wet, flabby lumps that need to be chased around the plate
  • Or a stiffening cake that needs to be cut with a knife

(Pasta cake? Maybe I’m onto something here?)

But I want to taste the pasta like I order in restaurants, I don’t want it to be just a carbohydrate conduit for the other ingredients! Or worse, for the pasta to suck the life and taste out of anything it comes into contact with.

I want to be able to do that thing where you just throw some pasta together with some tomatoes and onions and end up with something fabulous (and dare I say it *whispers* authentic?)

Here is a pasta bake (cake) made last week:

  • Fresh fusilli pasta (boiled in salt water before putting in oven)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted vegetable sauce (admittedly shop-bought)
  • Smoked ham
  • Mozzarella
  • Onions, pepper and garlic salt

Doesn’t look too bad does it? Certainly smelt good.
Guess what it tasted of?


6 Responses to “Pasta A La Nothing”

  1. love poppy 10/10/2011 at 6:00 pm #


    That looks and sounds really tasty.. are you sure it tastes of Nothing !

    Do you like Afternoon Tea ?
    Thought I would let you know that I am hosting Vintage Afternoon Teas – 3 dates to
    choose from. Details are on Facebook – lovepoppyfood and

    Love to welcome you and your friends..

  2. Alan Duffy 10/10/2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Could seasoning be part of the problem? I ain’t no expert but I find a good pinch of salt and pepper key to most dishes.

  3. love poppy 10/10/2011 at 8:22 pm #

    yes SALT.. good quality like Maldon .Pasta like potatoes and rice really need salt. In the pan while cooking then more as seasoning after if required.

  4. Alice Cant Cook 11/10/2011 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks guys. I did use salt in the boiling water and used garlic salt to season before putting in the oven. I kind of hoped that garlic and a smoked meat might impart some flavouring?
    I do like salt but don’t like food too salty if you know what I mean? But then I suppose that would be better than nothing?
    I do use sea salt in a grinder but maybe could try out a special new brand? I’ll investigate.
    Also, I think my pepper grinder might be a bit broken hence the lack of pepper.

    Poppy – will look into it thanks for the link! xx

    • Alice Reeves (@Alice_Reeves) 12/10/2011 at 1:37 pm #

      Salt and pepper are never enough to make a dish taste great. If you’re after an authentic Italian flavour then fresh basil and oregano are an absolute must.

      Garlic salt taste of absolutely nothing. You can’t beat fresh garlic (it should be fat and juicy when you crush it — not dried out), but tubes of garlic puree are also good.

      Whenever I put cheese on anything a good glug of Worcester sauce works wonders.

      Also, I never find shop-bought sauces taste of much so if I have to use them I tend to look on the label at which herbs and flavourings they’ve used and add more. I also add extra tomato puree if the sauce is tomato-based 🙂

      Hope that helps — happy cooking! A x

  5. Alice Cant Cook 13/10/2011 at 8:42 am #

    Ah, Alice, you mentioned fresh herbs…. but if you wash them and cut them up they go like slimy lettuce?
    Thanks for that though, I love the thought of worcestershire sauce on cheese. I do it on cheese on toast. Great idea!


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