Pasta is one of the most basic of all foodstuffs – just flour and eggs or water – and its nowhere near as hard to make as it seems. You dont need any fancy kit, either
Theres been no pasta at the shops for weeks, apart from own-brand orzo (whats that all about, by the way?). So theres nothing else for it but to try DIY. Any beginners tips? The more idiot-proof, the better, please.
Ive no idea what shoppers have against orzo, either, Maggie – the little, rice-shaped pasta (hence its alternative name, risoni) is ideal for bulking out soups, using in fake “risottos” (or orzotti), or as an alternative carby side (season generously and dress in butter or good oil, depending on what youre serving it with). But to cut to the chase, pasta couldnt be more basic if you tried: just flour and water or eggs. At its simplest, pasta is cucina povera (“the cooking of the poor”) in spades.
Chef and restaurateur Giorgio Locatelli explains that egg pasta is more common in the north simply because its wealthier than the south. “There are some exceptions,” he laughs, “such as Liguria, which is renowned for being stingy, and some mountain areas, but eggs add nutritional value as well as a glorious, golden colour, while the protein gives the pasta its al dente [literally “to the tooth”] bite.”
Purists insist the flour has to be Italian “00”, but regular plain will also do the trick (assuming youve got some, that is, flour being almost as rare as pasta these days), and the process couldnt be simpler. You dont need any fancy kit, either, Locatelli says. “All my chefs have to know how to make it by hand, without a machine.”
Put 350g flour in a bowl – “At home theres no point in flouring an entire worktop, because youll only have to clean it after” – make a well in the centre and add three eggs and a small pinch of salt. “With your hand, pull the eggs through the flour until the mix comes together into a ball, and congratulations: youve just made five portions of pasta dough.”
Theres more to it, of course, but not much. If the dough is on the dry side, dont be tempted to pour in any liquid, Locatelli warns. “With wet hands, work it again – itll come together soon enough.” Knead for a few minutes – “It will be hard going, because its a pretty stiff dough” – then wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When you want to cook, unwrap the dough and poke a finger into the ball – the resulting indentation should pop straight back out. “If it doesnt, the doughs too soft and needs more flour, but dont worry: youll add a bit of that when you roll it out anyway.”
On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough from inside to out – “You need to put some effort in, and most of the force should come from your hips, not arms” – to a 90cm x 90cm square, and youre good to cut it into your shape of choice: “Cut into neat slices, roll these up, cut again into noodles and shake out the strands.” Cook your fresh pasta in boiling salted water – “A litre for every 100g, to give it room to move” – for just 30-45 seconds for thin tagliolini and up to a minute and a half for wide pappardelle.
In the south, however, water takes the place of eggs and the flour is coarse semolina, or durum, flour, which gives the pasta a firmer bite. River Cafe chef Carlotta Soper explains: “For six, pile a 400g mound of semolina on a worktop, make a well in the middle and add up to 180ml water a few tablespoons at a time. Mix with your hands until it just comes together – dont be tempted to add more water at this stage, because it will soften as it relaxes – then knead for five to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean cloth and rest for half an hour.”
Use it in the Italian souths classic pastas – ear-shaped orecchiette, canoe-shaped cavatelli, hollow ferretti: there are numerous online guides, Pasta Grannies being one of the best. “Or just create your own,” Soper says. “No one will judge you.”
GOVERNMENTS DIETARY GUIDELINES ARE FAILING THE PLANET, STUDY FINDS
Dietary advice needs to be more environmentally friendly, say scientists.
After looking at recommen..
Dietary advice needs to be more environmentally friendly, say scientists.
After looking at recommendations from around the world, a new study has found that 98 per cent of government dietary guidelines are falling behind current science for both health and environmental impact.
Theres a good chance youve never taken a second look at your countrys dietary guidelines. Despite this, they often find their way into our lives as the basis of food education, policy-making and labelling initiatives.
Research recently published in the British Medical Journal looked at available dietary guidelines from 85 different countries in every region of the world. They judged each set of guidelines against five environmental targets and one health target that governments had pledged to reach.
The health target was to reduce early deaths from non-infectious diseases by a third, while environmental targets were linked to the 2C limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Other environmental targets considered pollution from farming, land use and destruction of nature.
Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann at the University of Oxford told Euronews Living that our food system is “a major driver of environmental impacts”.
“Without dietary changes towards more plant-based diets, key environmental limits related to climate change, land use, freshwater extraction, and biogeochemical flows associated with fertilizer application risk being exceeded,” he added.
Dr Springmann said that what the team behind the study discovered was “shocking and revealing”. Only two of these sets of dietary guidelines, from Indonesia and Sierra Leone, were in line with all 6 of the health, climate and pollution targets.
The report found that 98 per cent of the dietary guidelines looked at by researchers didnt meet at least one of the global environmental and health targets. Guidelines from 74 of the countries also failed to give recommendations that would keep dietary carbon emissions within the global warming limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Some countries were worse than others. If everyone in the world followed advice from the US or the UK, for example, then food-related carbon emissions would be three times the limits for avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.
HOW CAN DIETARY GUIDELINES BE BETTER?
In every country the study looked at, people were eating more red and processed meat than recommended by WHO guidelines.
The researchers are recommending that new dietary guidelines are brought in line with current science with “stringent reductions in dairy and beef. They also say that there should be specific advice available for people looking to eat healthy and sustainable plant-based diets.
“We also looked at several examples of how reformed dietary guidelines could look,” lead researcher, Marco Springmann wrote in a blog post. “In short, they involved much stricter limits for meat and dairy, both for health and environmental reasons, and to be specific but not overly prescriptive, they included different dietary patterns based around plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes.”
These reformed guidelines are similar to the science-based advice of the “planetary health diet” created by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health. This diet was created with the idea of providing nutritious food to the worlds growing population while addressing the role of agriculture in the climate crisis.
BALANCING HEALTH AND CLIMATE
But Helena Gibson-Moore of the British Nutrition Foundation tells Euronews Living that it is important to remember that dietary guidelines are “also developed to provide adequate nutrition to populations.”
“Dairy products might not be the most environmentally friendly foods to produce but are important sources of calcium and iodine in many countries, so reducing intakes may increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies,” she says.
“Its also important to bear in mind other factors of a healthy and sustainable diet, for example, cultural differences, as well as the cost and accessibility to foods, to ensure that dietary recommendations are achievable for everyone.”
James Martin makes brutal swipe about John Torrode
JAMES MARTIN hit out at MasterChef judge John Torrode this week during his segment on This Morning, ..
JAMES MARTIN hit out at MasterChef judge John Torrode this week during his segment on This Morning, joining Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield just weeks after the judge set fire to his kitchen live on-air.
James Martin not only has his own cooking show, but he also appears as a regular guest chef on ITV’s This Morning. During a live segment which aired earlier this week, James was on hand to chook a welsh rarebit for Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, and the chef narrowly missed out on a blunder occurring. While Phillip started to panic, he reassured those watching at home and took aim at John Torrode instead.
James Martin had been invited to cook for This Morning on Wednesday, not once, but twice with one savoury dish and one sweet.
First up, the chef made welsh rarebit but with fish instead of bread, which is the usual recipe.
This required him to use the grill to get a golden brown top to his cheesy delight.
James explained: “Its a really iconic dish if you look at Gary Rhodes recipe, this one stands out above anything else.
“When it starts to thicken take it off the heat and once it is set, lay it on top of the fish.
James put the fish under the grill, but Phillip very quickly noticed that whenever James opened the grill, there was quite a lot of smoke billowing from the oven.
This sent the host into peels of giggles thinking that lightning had struck twice and they were about to witness another on-air fire.
James opened the oven once more and viewers could see that there were in fact flames coming from the over.
Phillip very calmly pointed out the smoke and James said: “Oh, no, no. Dont panic.”
James just quickly shut the oven door not seeming particularly bothered by what was going on inside.
“Its not John Torrode.” the chef added whilst giving a cheeky smirk to the camera.
He opened the oven door again and another gasp of smoke billowed out and he said once again: “Nah, thats alright.”
It came after MasterChef judge John Torrode also joined Holly and Phillip on This Morning a few weeks ago.
He was showing the viewers how to make a classic DIY McDonalds breakfast for those who have been missing their takeaways in lockdown.
However, in a shocking on-air blunder, John left a tea towel on an open flame in his kitchen and the show was thrown into chaos when John didnt notice.
Those watching at home saw large flames emerge behind him.
Holly cried out: “John, your tea towel is on fire,” followed by Phillip, who shouted: “John your cookers on fire, your tea towel is on fire, behind you.”
The hosts continued to shout, “look behind you,” but the chef remained obvious due to the video link delay.
“Look behind you,” Phillip shouted. “Fire, youre on fire, fire John!”
The MasterChef host calmly turned around, thanked the pair, and moved the burning tea towel to the sink.
He was all ok, but it left Holly and Phillip shaken by the drama of it all.