Saturday, January 15, 2011
A cooking lesson for children
Had I a grandchild, and if she (or he) wanted to help me cook , what would I choose to make for dinner that would teach her more than one lesson? That would teach her to boil water, to set a timer, to peel, dice, and saute an onion , to mince or press garlic, to brown meat, to add seasonings, to grate cheese, to cook and drain pasta,to see that cooking is enjoyable ,and to be pleased and proud of a meal made by her own hands.
A simple platter of pasta with a home made sauce of diced tomatoes and mild Italian sausage provides all these lessons. It is the door that opens to the world of cookery. Learn to conquer the onion, and you conquer the kitchen. Tame garlic- and you will have no fear. Any child can learn this. More of them should.
Simple pasta with simple sauce.
1 pound of spaghetti,linguine, angel hair pasta, or even orzo if you are feeling adventurous
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1 28 oz can good quality diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt- to taste
2 cloves of garlic- diced or crushed
1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 yellow onion, diced
Put the olive oil in a saute pan or deep skillet. Turn to medium high heat, wait, then tilt the pan. When the oil streaks, add the diced onions. Lower the heat a bit, sprinkle the onions with 1/2 teas. of sea salt and saute them till they are soft, golden and sweet. Now add the crumbled mild Italian sausage and saute it until it is lightly browned. Add the crushed garlic, the diced tomatoes, the Italian seasoning, and the vinegar. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, Taste to make sure the seasoning pleases you. 8 minutes before the sauce is ready you can cook your pasta, following the package directions. And remember that these directions are directions. Not guidelines. Pasta needs precision. Another lesson for the child, who by now should be searching the refrigerator for the Parmesan or the Romano. Micro plane or grater in hand , set her to work on the cheese.Let her drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce ,or if you prefer, spoon it onto each individual plate of pasta. Let the child sprinkle the cheese .
Let all enjoy the meal- but do not forget the last lesson. Boy or girl. Someone must do the dishes. And wipe the counters, and clear the table.