The Los Angeles Times this morning featured an article on food labeling. This has been a hot topic for quite some time. There are many studies – some mentioned in this lengthy article – and many opinions written on the subject. There are obviously differing opinions from the food industry vs. those who are looking out for the rest of us. Trust me, the food industry could care less about the rest of us. They came up with a system that said that Fruit Loops was a healthy choice.
I think that it is important that the ingredients of a packaged food be on the label, but the nutritional information is so subjective that regardless of what colors are used, the information itself is spurious. If you really want to know if you should eat something in a box or plastic bag, (gently) grab a 5 year old and see if they can pronounce the ingredients. Unless you have brought along an incredibly precocious kindergardener, you will be safe if they can read all of the ingredients; most likely they will stumble on the first mono-somethingorother.
A friend asked me about how to get started in the kitchen. She said that she could not follow complicated recipes but wanted to start cooking. I always say that the biggest challenge to cooking is actually just getting off of the couch and going into the kitchen. The rest is easy. This week, I will attempt to provide some simple recipes that can be made quickly. Food does not have to be complicated to be delicious.
Today, I start with one of my son’s favorites. It is made mostly from the pantry so it’s easy in a pinch.
- 1/2 Box Penne Pasta
- Can of Tomato Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- Salt and Pepper
- Grated Parmesan
- Olive Oil
- Large Pan
- Sauce Pan
- Medium Grater
- Chef’s Knife
- Wooden Spoon
- Boil some water. I use a double pasta boiler but a big pan with some salted water will work fine.
- In a saucepan, add a little olive oil and briefly saute the garlic.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and warm over a low flame, stirring occasionally. I buy San Marzano tomato sauce because I think they are the tastiest tomatoes. Read the label!
- Cook for the length of time it takes for the water to come to a boil and to cook the pasta.
Serve in a bowl mixed with as much sauce as you would like. Grate some fresh parmesan. If you really want to get fancy, chop some italian parsley and sprinkle over top. Have a simple salad as well and your dinner is complete.