01625: Cooking Pasta Is Like Old Sneakers

When in doubt, pasta - this has sort of become one of my mantras when it comes to cooking. Pastas are pretty reliable over time since it's just a matter of tweaking existing sauce bases with different ingredients and see what comes out.

Pasta sort of represents something that I love about cooking and yet it also freaks me out from time to time. It's all about experimenting and going by gut and feel and chasing after the flavors that you want in order to achieve the taste you imagined in your head when you started preparing the meal.

And while there are so many different recipes for pasta sauces out there, I rarely look up recipes anymore. Instead I find myself thinking of an ingredient that I want to use and then the rest of the sauce sort of forms around it.

You get all the usual questions like if the sauce will be oil-based, tomato-based or perhaps creamy. Do I want it to have strong flavors or a diverse palette of different, distinct ones. Do I want the meat to shine or do I want it to break-up and disappear into the sauce. Or do I even want to use meat at all?

Today I experimented with tilapia fillets as my main ingredient. And to compliment that I tried to create some sort of a tomato marina-like sauce, but then added a few other things like mushrooms. Oh, and I fired the onions and garlic with some chorizo bits for a little added kick.

I know, I know - I probably use too much in terms of onions or I probably don't really balance flavors all that well like a professional chef would. But hey, it tastes good to me and so far I haven't sent Tobie to the hospital for food poisoning or something. And thus he remains my main audience (or test subject) for my cooking. If he likes it, then I live to cook another day.

I guess this is why I'm often hesitant about cooking for people other than Tobie. I have no idea what their taste preferences may be like or if they end up thinking that I over-season things or something. I do favor stronger flavors and the occasional burst of spice and such. There are just so many different scenarios that sends me going all nervous again.

But going back, at least I get to find comfort in these different pasta sauces that I end up creating. I am a color-in-the-lines kind of guy for the most part and thus feeling this freedom to be creative in something outside of writing.

I could probably work on my plating though. My red sauces are really red and my white sauces end up a little brown, haha! But we take things one step at a time!