All of today I’ve been reliving my wonderful experience of a Salvatore Pepe cooking demonstration.
Last night, Salvatore volunteered his time to support Adelaide’s Helpmann Academy by cooking a three course meal for a small crown of dedicated foodies and art lovers.
risotto ai carciofi e parmagiano – risotto with artichokes and parmesan
involtini di pesce spada – rolled and stuffed swordfish
pere ubriache ripiene di ricotta – poached pears stuffed with ricotta, chocolate and pistacchio
Little did I expect to be cast back to high school years circa 1988.
Having shown us how to strip, scoop and chop artichokes in preparation for the risotto, Pepe threw them into a large saucepan with shallots and alarming amounts of butter. He then advised:
“If you put a lid on, you will reduce your cooking time by half”.
This is pretty much Boyles law.
Recalling the wisdom of Mr Miller my corduroy-wearing physics teacher, it goes a little something like this:
The absolute pressure exerted by a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to the volume it occupies if the temperature and amount of gas remain unchanged within a closed system.
In my kitchen, I word it this way:
To make the dinner cook quicker ’cause the kids are going feral in the background, put a lid on your saucepan. This will reduce the cooking volume, and that results in higher temperatures and pressures for quicker slap-it-up-plates-on-table.
Somehow it sounded so much better coming from the beautifully-accented mouth of an Italian-Aussie cooking legend.