We have been working with broth. We keep a fair amount of it in our freezer. Whenever we roast chicken we save the leftover skin and bones and pressure cook them with water the next day. Sometimes we use a lot of broth and sometimes the supply grows in the freezer.
The other night we cooked macaroni. Besides the pot of boiling water was a deep sided sauteuse with broth. We transferred the al dente pasta to the shallow pool of hot broth and let it finish cooking, stirring constantly so that the macaroni would absorb the liquid evenly. When the broth became a glaze, we folded in cheese. Shortly thereafter we were eating a luscious, meaty macaroni and cheese. The noodles had a silky texture and a nice chew. We used substantially less cheese than we normally do and still the noodles were intensely cheesy. The rich flavor of the broth deepened the natural flavor of the cheese.
With temperatures in the nineties, today we decided to make pasta salad. Too often the dressing of choice is a heavy mayo-based mixture that soaks into the noodles leaving them dry and somewhat sticky. We decided to further explore the use of broth. Aki cooked the noodles until they were al dente. Then she rinsed them briefly in cool water and put them in a bowl. She added a generous amount of just warmed broth to the noodles and stirred them together. The noodles slowly absorbed the broth, sucking in the flavor. When the noodles were heavily saturated, knowing they would eventually pull in all of the liquid, she folded in a dollop of Duke's mayonnaise. She folded in the cold braised chicken that had been cooked in the broth, seasoned the mixture, and chilled it for a couple of hours, stirring it occasionally. About 2 hours before dinner she added seasoned, peeled, bite-sized chunks of cucumber, yellow pepper, and orange pepper. The pasta salad was amazing. It was silky and rich. It was evenly and lightly dressed. It was packed with flavor and had a resilient texture. A summertime staple has been upgraded.
June 18, 2005