Readers' Questions 3

Q. Why is my beef bourguignon too dry? (From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

A. That's a very complicated question. You don't say what cut you used, how you cooked it and for how long. All those have a direct effect on the result. Please write again, and be more specific.

Q. My homemade noodles are very heavy.  (From White Plains, NY, USA)

A. If you're using an all-semolina recipe, try my recipe, it's 50% semolina and 50% flour, which makes it lighter. Pasta made with semolina has more body, and you may not be used to that. In that case, switch to an all-flour recipe.

First, check the thickness of your pasta. If you're using a pasta maker, switching to a higher number may solve your problem. I use No. 5 for fettucine and lasagna and No. 6 for ravioli and won ton.

Q. My beef bourguignon didn't thicken. Why? (From Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada)

A. You don't say what you used as a thickener. If you rolled the beef in flour before browning it, chances are you'll have to use a thickener at the end. Beurre manié is the traditional one (I use it in my own recipe).

Have you ever tried thickening a sauce with corn starch? You dilute a few spoonfuls of corn starch in some water and add it bit by bit to the sauce, stirring all the time, until you get the thickness you want. Simmer for one minute to cook the starch and that's it.

This new slow cooker recipe recommends minute tapioca, but you have to add it at the beginning. It worked beautifully when I cooked that boeuf bourguignon in the crock pot, and I'm sure it would work equally well in the classic oven-baked version.

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