June 6, 2011 at 11:21 am , by Sonia Harmon
Tonight is the premiere of season two of Masterchef, with chefs Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich, and Gordon Ramsay back to judge the home cooks vying for the $250,000 grand prize. This year’s cooking competition comes with some surprisingly tasty dishes from unsuspecting characters, as well as some flat out awful auditions—and the judges don’t hold back with their critiques. Since we all can’t hold the title of Masterchef, we asked Bastianich to share a few quick tips for the rest us wanting to whip up a great meal at home.
Tip #1 “One of the big things I tell people is that when you’re cooking pasta, the last 20 percent of the cook time should be done in a sauté pan with the sauce. So reserve some of the pasta boiling water and add it to your sauce with the pasta in a sauté pan.”
Tip #2 “When you’re grilling steaks, pull them out 3-4 hours before you cook them and leave them on the counter. Season the meat while it’s cold and let it come to room temperature with the salt, pepper and seasoning on it. To get a perfect medium-rare or rare you want your steaks, or any kind of meat, to be at room temperature when it hits the grill.”
Tip #3 “All home cooks should have good olive oil and a good quality sea salt for finishing in their kitchen. And dried porcini mushrooms are like the secret recipe for everything. Put them in a coffee grinder and turn them into a powder, which you can use to marinate meats with salt and pepper and sugar. Anywhere you want to add flavor, you’ve got to use porcini mushrooms. They’re great.”