Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Okay, we are about a minute away from our pasta being ready, so I am going to go ahead and I am going to check my pasta. The way that I check my pasta is -- and I am going to rinse this off in here, look at that. Thats not going to hurt, folks, you are going to have that spaghetti sauce that has all the flavors, its all in there. I am going to take my pasta tool here, I am going to hook one of these, and they are hot, so just like I said, safety first, watch your fingers. But what I like to do is I take it like this, I just take a little bite, thats good. I look at it, I cant see it there, take another bite, theres a little teeny-tiny, its probably hard to see, a little teeny-tiny dot right in the center of the pasta, which is probably very hard to see, but this pasta is done. I dont think I want to go any further on it, because it would be overcooked. So, I am going to turn it off right now. We are going to take it, we are going to drain it, and I am going to show how we are going to put it together. What I am going to do, I am going to get ready first. I am going to take my pasta bowl. We are going to sit it over here by the sink, because I am getting ready to drain this pasta. I am going to take my pasta over, we are going to actually drain it through the counter, there we go, get you out of the way, thank you very much. Okay, that turned out well, very nice. Give it a shake, drain it real good. Now, what I am going to do is I want to take my pasta sauce. I am going to put some sauce in the bottom of this bowl. We are just going to put some, there we go. So, we are going to put some sauce in the bottom, and this is going to keep the pasta from sticking together. I am going to put this back over here. I am going to take this, give it a good shake, I lost one, thats alright, put it in there. Now, we are going to take this, I am going to slide over here, push this out of the way, lets get rid of this, very nice. I am going to put some more pasta sauce on here, there we go, load it up. Try not to make too much of a mess. Then I am going to take and mix this around. What we are going to do, we are going to coat this with the sauce. So, when we coat it, its actually going to keep that pasta from sticking together, as it sits. Sometimes people will actually run water over the pasta, you can do that, but I can tell you this, its not really doing much good, you are cooling the pasta down. Yeah, it stops the cooking a little bit, but in the end you tend to have a cold dish. So, this way, this is ready to go, this is ready to go. We are ready to go to the table, and there it is, this is how we make pasta. Now, the only other thing we do is when we plate this up, and we are going to plate it, serve it with some sausage and maybe put a extra sauce on top. So, let me get a plate, I will be right back, and we are going to plate this up, and show you what it looks like.