- Crushed vs puree for tomato sauce - texture difference is just preference, taste didn’t really make a huge difference
- Fresh mozzerella vs shredded - shredded is lower moisture, which is how it can shred. fresh tastes much better, but harder to disperse evenly through food
- Parmigiano reggiano vs parmesan - most recipes recommended parmigiano and I wasn’t sure why. turns out parmesan is like a knockoff parmigiano. parmigiano is from a certain region of Italy, made to certain standards that have to be met for what kind of cow, what kind of milk, etc. Parmesan is the same process of cheese making but can be made with whatever quality products. Parmigiano was almost unanimously voted as better. It’s a richer flavor and texture is softer. Parmesan has some bitterness to it
- Adding vodka to tomato sauce - at high concentrations it binds to aromas and prevents them from being released into the air, but at lower concentrations (1% or less) it actually helps it release - this proved to be true. From blind taste test everyone thought the vodka one was brighter in flavor. One person came late and the sauce had gone cold and he couldn’t taste a difference. Seems temperature matters a lot.
Separate from experiments, we also made a butter sage sauce. Literally just butter and sage. Made the pasta taste like popcorn. Very interesting, but not really my style. We also made some meatballs - fennel seeds, ½ ground pork, ½ ground beef, chili flakes, breadcrumbs - the fennel seeds made it taste really good.