The Pasta Sauce Hailed as the World's Best Is Surprisingly Easy to Make at Home

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iStock

Just as Julia Child changed the way Americans felt about French cooking, Marcella Hazan changed the way they felt about Italian cooking. And though she's not a household name the way Child is, you've probably seen a copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking in a kitchen or two.

One of her most famous recipes is also the simplest. Her pasta sauce only requires three ingredients and less than an hour, as Delish alerts us.

First, the ingredients. You'll need a 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes; one peeled, halved onion; and 5 tablespoons of butter. (Yes, 5 whole tablespoons of butter.) You'll also want a pinch or two of salt.

Put everything together in a single pot and set it to simmer over medium heat on the stove for 45 minutes, uncovered. Give it the occasional stir.

And that's it. After the 45 minutes is up, toss out the onion halves, and pour the sauce over your favorite pasta. Easy.

Even now, the sauce's simplicity makes it a little radical. The raw onion and unmelted butter look flat-out weird just sitting there in a pot of tomatoes. But banish the skepticism, please.

Hazan died in 2013. Her husband and translator (she wrote in Italian), Victor Hazan, explained how the sauce came to be in an interview with Epicurious in 2016:

Marcella was a genius when it came to taste. She had an immediate understanding about how flavor affects a dish. She asked herself, 'Why chop an onion? Why saute? I'm going to put the onion, tomato, and butter together and forget about it.'

This recipe is just proof that great cooking doesn't always have to be complicated. If Hazan's style piques your interest, check out some of her other cooking tips gathered by Epicurious here, and buy her acclaimed cookbooks on Amazon.

[h/t Delish]

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

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iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to HuffPost, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

The Reason You Should Never Rinse a Turkey

jax10289/iStock via Getty Images
jax10289/iStock via Getty Images

There are many misconceptions surrounding your Thanksgiving turkey, but none is more dangerous than the turkey-washing myth. Raw poultry can contain dangerous microbes like Salmonella, and it's not uncommon for home cooks to rinse their meat under cool water in an effort to wash away these pathogens. The intention may be admirable, but this is a worse turkey sin than overcooking your bird or carving it before letting it rest. According to AOL, rinsing a raw turkey with water is more likely to make you and your dinner guests sick than not cleaning it at all.

When you wash a turkey in the sink, there's no guarantee that all of the nasty stuff on the outside of it is going down the drain. In fact, the only thing rinsing does is spread potentially harmful microbes around. In addition to getting bacteria on you hands and clothes, rinsing can contaminate countertops, sink handles, and even the surrounding air.

There are three main ways to lower your chances of contracting Salmonella when dealing with raw turkey: Thaw your bird in the fridge, minimize contact with it before it goes into the oven, and give it plenty of time to cook once it's in there. For the second part, that means setting aside time to pat your turkey dry, remove the excess fat and skin, and season it without handling anything else. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, wash your hands frequently and wash the plates, knives, and other tools that touched the turkey before using them again. You should also cook your stuffing outside the turkey rather than shoving it inside the cavity and creating a Salmonella bomb.

Once the safety aspect is taken care of, you can focus on making your turkey taste as delicious as possible. Here are some tips from professional chefs on making your starring dish shine this Thanksgiving.

[h/t AOL]

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