Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recipe: Garlic and Herb Angel Hair Pasta

My children wanted to do a cooking experience and I sure wasn't gonna say no to that! Next thing I know my son is bringing me his Williams-Sonoma Fun Food 25 delicious recipes that kids can cook cookbook.  We picked out a recipe that was easy and already had all the ingredients on hand. We selected the Garlic and Herb Angel Hair pasta.  

My son boiled the water and took care of getting the pasta done. My girl stirred the garlic mix and made sure it didn't burn (very important job!). Towards the end they took turns stirring the pasta around the pan and making sure it was mixed well with the other ingredients. I added a green salad and side of hoagie rolls. My children did an awesome job!! We even saved leftovers for daddy. When he got home he ate them up and was impressed and found it absolutely delicious! We thought so too.

I came up with a list of benefits of having young children cook and helping in the kitchen.
  • It encourages them to have healthy eating habits.
  • They can see and know how the food is being prepared and know exactly what is going into the recipe.
  • It is an important skill to know how to cook.
  • They feel like they were productive and helped make a delicious meal.
  • Having a positive cooking experience can help build self-confidence.
  • Cooking makes for a great family activity/bonding.
  • Parents get to spend quality time teaching their children a life skill.
  • It is very creative and teaches them time management skills.
  • Cooking teaches children a new set of vocabulary words: preheat, stir, skillet, boil, sauté, chop, teaspoon, zest.

Garlic and Herb Angel Hair

8 cloves garlic
8 sprigs fresh parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound angel hair (capellini) pasta
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
ground pepper
grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Peel the garlic
Before you start, be sure an adults is nearby to help.
Put the garlic cloves on the cutting board. Place the flat part of the metal spatula over 1 garlic clove and press down hard with the heel of your palm to break and loosen the papery skin. Don't worry if you smash the garlic a little. Peel off the skin and throw it away. Repeat with other 7 cloves.

Chop garlic and herbs
Use the knife to slice the garlic cloves thinly crosswise.
Strip the parsley leaves off the stems and place them on the cutting board.
Holding the sharp knife in one hand and placing the fingers of your other hand on top of the knife, rock the knife back and forth over the parsley leaves until they are cut into small, even pieces.

Cook the garlic
Get an adult to help you now. Set the sauté pan over medium-low heat and put the oil into the pan. Heat the oil for 1 minute.
Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes (if you like your pasta spicy) and cook, stirring frequently with the wooden soon, until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove the sauté pan from the heat.

Cook the pasta
Fill the saucepan three-quarters full with water. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
When the water is boiling, add the salt.
Add the pasta to the saucepan, wait a minute, then stir and push the pasta down into the water with the wooden fork. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta
Set the colander in the sink.
As an adult to help you  now. Ladle out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside in a liquid measuring cup.
Ask an adult to help you pour the pasta into the colander. Let the pasta drain.

Cook the flavorings
Place the sauce pan back over medium heat and add the lemon zest and parsley. Stir with the wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.

Sauteing the garlic, parsley, and lemon zest

Toss it all together
Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to th sauce pan. Toos the ingredients together with the tongs until combined, adding more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems dry.
Taste (careful, it's hot!) and add pepper and more salt if needed.

Serve right away. Pass the grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Recipe taken from Williams-Sonoma Fun Food 25 delicious recipes that kids can cook

Happy Cooking with Kids!
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