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Food & Dining

Reheat the Alfredo sauce slowly

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 14, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Q: How can I reheat Alfredo sauce? My fettuccini Alfredo turns into noodles in a greasy puddle when it gets hot. Ugh!

A: Alfredo sauce is an emulsion. That means it has both fat (the cream) and water in a balance of tiny bubbles. Heating it breaks the bubbles, and all the fat comes together in one big puddle on top of the water. Reheating any emulsion is tricky, and it's made even harder if the sauce is already mixed with the pasta.

The most important thing is to reheat it slowly, over a low heat. It will take longer, but it be less likely to separate. Adding a couple of teaspoons of cream, half and half or whole milk before you reheat it also helps.

Probably the most reliable method is to use a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can put water in a larger pan and set either a smaller pan in the water or a metal bowl over the water. The sauce and pasta go into the smaller container. Heat the water until it simmers, but don't stir the pasta until the water simmers. Then stir gently to not break up the pasta.

Some people have perfected reheating it in a frying pan on low heat, so you can try that if you don't want to use the double boiler method. And others prefer putting it in a covered dish in a 325- to 350-degree oven. This will take longer, and you might not want to heat the oven for a dish of leftovers, but it works.

The microwave seems to be the method most likely to cause separation. If you're reheating just the sauce, without pasta, and it separates, you can use an egg yolk to help stabilize it. Pull the pan off the heat right away. Separate an egg and add a couple of tablespoons of the warm sauce. Whisk it immediately and rapidly until it's smooth. Then gently stir it into the rest of the sauce and return to a very low heat until it's heated through.

Of course the final option is to eat the pasta and sauce cold.

Q: Is there any way I can still eat rice, and feed it to my family, now that we know it has all this arsenic in it?

A: You can still eat rice. Small amounts as part of a varied diet are not going to be as risky as a diet that includes 3 cups of rice a day. But even beyond that, there are several techniques you can use to reduce the arsenic in rice. With them you will also lose some of the vitamins and minerals in or added to rice during fortification. But eating a healthy diet of lots of fruits, veggies and other whole grains will compensate for that loss.

There was a least one study several years ago that showed that rinsing the dry rice in water would reduce the arsenic by about 25 percent. Put the rice in a bowl or pan, cover with water, swirl it around, pour the water off. Repeat 4 to 6 times, until the water you pour off is clear.

Also, cooking the rice in double the usual amount of water can take up to half the arsenic out. So for 1 cup of dry rice, instead of the usual 21/2 cups of water use 5 or 6 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until the grains are soft, then carefully drain off the extra water.

Some people like to lay a clean tea towel or several layers of paper towels over the pan, put the lid back on and let the rice sit another 5-10 minutes to absorb more of the steam to help keep the rice from getting gummy. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Basmati and jasmine rice generally have less arsenic to start with, only about half that of regular long-grain rice. So choose those varieties.


Mary A. Keith, a licensed dietitian and health agent at Hillsborough County Extension, can be reached at mkeith@ufl.edu.
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