Put Down your Shin Ramen - Believe it or not, there's something better
By Christian, Kaelyn, and Leo
Whether you’re heaving a sigh of relief now that midterm season 1 is over or frantically feeling the anticipation of midterm season 2, most Berkeley students can probably relate to the ubiquitous quick meal (or late night snack) of instant ramen or equally unhealthy foods. Shin ramen, Jin ramen, and Croads late night are all tasty for sure, but hardworking Berkeley students sometimes deserve a good meal to treat themselves.
As hungry, but budget-limited college freshmen, we wanted a delicious meal at a reasonable price but decided to have some fun at the same time. Despite the limitations of the kitchens at the dorm, we decided to venture further than the water fountain and fridge to actually use the space to cook a healthy and mouth-watering meal.
Here’s how we made a savory meal of linguine pasta and steak. First off, our ingredients cost 42 dollars in total for a serving size of three: cheese, steak, onions, garlic, linguine pasta, and olive oil. The true treasure to this recipe were the three types of cheese (gorgonzola, parmesan, sarvecchio). The classic parmesan cheese’s fruity and quite nutty flavor was well complemented by the buttery and salty texture of the gorgonzola blue cheese. The two cheeses were topped off with an exquisite cheese - sarvecchio - which is an aged cheese with a true depth of nutty flavor. All in all, these cheeses were probably why the ingredients cost so much, but the money was worth the delightful experience.
We know this is expensive (you can buy boba 8 - 9 times with this amount of money!) but you deserve it after all the bodily harm you suffered during midterms by eating those rubbery “celebration roast” turkeys at Crossroads and mass instant ramen consumption in your room.
Salt the surface of the steak. This promotes the Myer’s Effect in which water pools onto the surface of the steak. Wait a few minutes and wipe off the excess moisture from the steak. This will help in cooking the steak to be more crisp on the outside and buttery on the inside.
Start boiling the water. It is a longer process than you think! While waiting, cook the steak as well.
Get the three types of cheeses ready and sliced. Try the Sarvecchio cheese on its own before adding to the food. It has an interesting taste and is surprisingly worth the $16 for a slice of it!
Dice the onions and garlic. These help to counter the greasiness of the pasta.
Add the linguine noodles to the boiling water once the water reaches an ideal temperature. Linguine is ideal to use in a cheese-based pasta because of its large surface area that absorbs the flavours and seasonings well.
Add salt to the water. Surprisingly, the water should almost be as salty as ocean water. This is because the pasta will absorb a certain level of solidity, so having the pasta seasoned with the salt before adding the actual sauce helps it to retain some level of flavour.
Once done boiling, remove the linguine noodles from the water and place onto fry pan. Add the pre-prepared cheeses, onions and garlic. Cook until noodles absorb the sauce.
After one hour of creating culinary delights in the dorm kitchen, the results were truly worth the effort. The steak proved to be savory: the seasoning was done with just the right amount, and the meat was cooked to a mouth-watering medium-done quality. We spent time to chat in between boiling the linguine noodles and left the noodles in the boiling water for a little too long, so they were a tad soggier than we intended; however, the noodles still retained the flavours of the cheeses and seasoning.
Overall, the food quality was better than we expected and almost made us think twice about going to Gypsy’s for pasta in the future. The dorm kitchens may not be the best, but we truly made the most of the facility to cook a delicious meal with a lot of fun. So put down your instant ramen and plastic forks, stop your late night runs to Taco Bell and Kingpin, or just avoiding to eat altogether. We got a recipe that will make your taste buds crave good food again and more importantly, love you for eating good food.
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