happy gamer eating delicious spaghetti

What is the Best Spaghetti Sauce?  National Spaghetti Day is Coming!

Now that we have celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Day has come and gone it is time to get ready to celebrate….yes, of course, we always celebrate playing jackpot slots at Jackpot Capital online casino!  But here we are talking a bit more tongue in cheek, both figuratively and literally.  You see, January 4th, aka National Spaghetti Day is just around the corner!

What could be better than playing casino games at Jackpot Capital casino and swirling a strand of spaghetti from your plate on National Spaghetti Day on January 4th and every other day for that matter?

Well, National Spaghetti Day brings out two very excellent questions, namely, what is spaghetti and what kind of sauce goes best with spaghetti?

So, in the spirit of our beloved promotion in which we all baked our own bonuses, we will present here a bit of the history of spaghetti and a recipe or two for great spaghetti sauce!

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What is Spaghetti?

If you thought that spaghetti was a simple as going to the supermarket and taking a box off the shelf, you thought a little too simply.  When the top chefs talk about spaghetti, they talk in terms of long strands, but thin ones, and they have to be hard, and they have to have no space for stuffing.  Wow!  And we thought that we were going to just make spaghetti! 

The classic Italian spaghetti is made from a type of wheat called durum.  Why, you might ask.  Because durum wheat has qualities that regular wheat doesn’t have.  Regular what has a quality called elasticity.  This means that the dough “bounces back” when you knead it.  This type of dough is great for bread, cakes, and cookies and many other baked delectable but it also is very high in gluten.

Durum wheat is very low in gluten and therefore is more rigid after the flour is mixed with water.  This makes it easier to form those long, yes, also thin strands of spaghetti.

By the way, over 90% of all the wheat that farmers grow around the world is regular wheat.  That means that bread, cakes, and cookies among many bakery items are far more “popular” in general than pasta.  But with the right sauce, pasta is super popular, too!

Are Spaghetti and Pasta the Same? The answer here is yes and no!  All spaghetti is pasta but not all pasta is spaghetti.  So when we celebrate National Spaghetti Day, we are celebrating just that type of pasta that is long, thin, sturdy, and has no opening for stuffing, and is made of durum wheat!  It certainly is a lot easier to say spaghetti than to say all of those important qualifiers!

What is Pasta?

Pasta is a general term that refers to any durum wheat based product that has been shaped into any of dozens of shapes.  The key to good pasta is the type of wheat: durum and the shape.  The shape lends itself to different cooking styles and different sauces.  So, here we will talk about two distinct sauces for the long, thin, hard, closed at the ends durum wheat product we lovingly call spaghetti!

Everyone tells us to cook spaghetti until it is al dente.  This means that it is no longer crunchy but is still firm.  You don’t want spaghetti to get too soft in the cooking.  The term “a wet noodle” was coined to describe overcooked spaghetti!  Even after you take the spaghetti out of the water and rinse it in cold water, the strands will continue to have heat inside and the heat will continue the cooking process.

What is Sauce?

It is certainly possible to get scientific and extra-technical about sauce but everyone knows what a sauce is.  A sauce has to be thinner than the food item it covers but not too thin.  The ingredients in the sauce have to blend well with each other and have to complement the food the sauce covers.

That’s about it as far as saying what a sauce is.  With spaghetti, there are two basic sauce types: a tomato-based sauce and pesto sauce.  These two sauces are totally and completely different from each other!

Tomato Sauce

You start with tomatoes, of course.  Now you have to add other ingredients.  The key to good tomato-based spaghetti sauce is to keep it simple yet to blend as many complementary flavors as possible.

In order to get the right consistency and the best blend of flavors, you need to cook the sauce on a low flame for a long time.  You need to watch the sauce carefully, stirring it often so the bottom part closest to the heat doesn’t burn.

You will need to add three types of complementary ingredients: meat, seasonings, and vegetables.  You don’t have to add either meat or vegetables but a really good spaghetti sauce with have at least one of these additional ingredient types. 

You do, however, have to add seasonings.  Here you choose between herbs and spices.  If you favor herbs, you should go light on the spices and if you favor spices, you should go light on the herbs.  Some people love oregano and some people don’t so you also need to know who you are making the sauce for.

Finely ground beef goes better than finely ground pork as it adds more flavor to the sauce.

The best herbs to add to this sauce are oregano and dill.  Basil and cilantro work for the few who love their flavors but they are not standard herbs for a spaghetti sauce.  You also need finely ground black pepper and salt.  Add moderately and add if you feel the sauce needs more of these staple ingredients.

Tomato-based Sauce is not Complicated

So, let’s review our basic tomato-based spaghetti sauce.  We start with tomatoes and if you can you should use soft, fresh tomatoes rather than canned chopped tomatoes.  This way, you have the freshest tomatoes with no preservatives and you can control the sauce better. 

Start the tomato cooking slowly.  Add all of the herbs or spices and cook these together.  Then add vegetables.  Some people add minced carrots, small chunks of bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, of course, but not too much unless garlic is your thing, and cook the extended sauce for a good long time.

If you want to add mushrooms, never ever use canned mushrooms!  Use fresh mushrooms, wash them well, and slice them thin.  Then add the mushrooms for the last twenty or so minutes of cooking the sauce.

Pesto Sauce

Classic pesto sauce has four ingredients: basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts.  It is possible to substitute a different cheese if you don’t like parmesan.  It is possible to substitute walnuts for the pine nuts.  It is not possible to substitute any herb for the basil and it is not possible to use vegetable oil - only olive oil!

A pesto sauce requires no cooking.  You do need an excellent blender or food processor.

Basil decreases in volume as you grind it so you will need a great deal of basil for a basic pesto for a meal with guests.  Add the oil sparingly because oil is quite loaded with calories.  The pine nuts are a basic flavor element in good pesto.  Finally, the cheese goes a long way and will make the sauce too thick if you add too much.

If you make a pesto sauce that is too thick, you can thin it with a little water but be careful when you add water as it can turn a thick sauce into a thin sauce very quickly.

Your favorite pesto recipe will reflect which flavor you prefer.  If you like basil a lot, then it should be the dominant flavor.  Otherwise you’ll have a cheese sauce with some basil “flavoring”.  So, it is best to save pesto sauce only for family or guests who really like it.

Hey, what about cream sauces?  Good question...but, we'll have to save that one for another day.  In the meantime, we're sure you can find plenty of great cream sauce recipes on YouTube.

Jackpot Capital Salutes National Spaghetti Day

We wish you a wonderful day savoring spaghetti and all types of basic spaghetti sauces!  We invite everyone who has not yet joined the Jackpot Capital family to do so now.  Not only do you get great games but you also get the occasional culinary discussion!

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