Pink Meatballs, Pasta in oil or butter

I have had the report back that some of the meatballs were pink in the center...alright, fair enough.  But let me give you a little bit of education and science behind some of the things and preparation we do.  (because it didn't bother some people)
The meatballs were first boiled for 20 to 30 minutes to quickly set the shape of the semi-ball form (we don't have the luxury or time of making them machine produced perfect orbs, I am sure you already know that so we will move along) and additionally to boil off and leave behind meat juice 'residue' and fats.

Then the meatballs are cooked at about 325F or 160C (roundabout proximation) for about an hour.  This tightens up the structure of the meatball as well as colors it with a better roasting brown (thats a color for you to request at the paint store, roasted brown meatball - it works well with a burnt caramel, or creme brulee on the molding and trim).  In addition to this it completely cooks the meatball.  Then I check the temperature for at minimum for 160F (71C).  Then it is held in the warmer/oven for an additional half four or more before being served on the line.  Sometimes meat can be fully cooked and still appear pink, this is true with smoked meats especially.

Another example is science that most people will not accept because their upbringing or knowledge will not allow them to...that is that meat can be cooked to a varied (depends on kind and cut of meat) temperature for a certain length of time and not be well done, BUT STILL has been cooked to the appropriate specs allowed by government regulations.  Which is the standard that most of the world goes by that has these health governing agencies in their country.  Some exceptions are of course fowl, more specifically (in our situation) turkey and chicken which internally should/has to be 165F or 74C.  Most of my specs are drawn from the food and drug administration.  Here is a link if you are interested in this: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fttmeat.html or here http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/MeatTemperatureChart.htm 

But of course, you and I both know I couldn't have or didn't check every meatball. (laughing)  Just a few in different batches.

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Pasta!  Some of you may want to argue when I get done with this section but putting butter or oil in the pasta water doesn't really do what you think it does...I say its 50/50 (and food science backs me up with plenty of experimental statistics to prove it) and the experts say its 0% that oil or butter in the water actually helps the pasta not to stick together in the water.  Its one of those old traditions that was handed down and taught to everyone so long its hard to change the mindset.
From my experience and all the food science books I have ever read all you need is the proper amount of water per pound of pasta, a high enough temperature for cooking it, and salt in the water (for taste, not the silly change the degree in the water explanation, because even if it did what use is 1 or 2 degrees difference?).  Thats it. 

I have talked to Italians, Chinese (because supposedly they had the pasta before Italians but I won't be in that argument) and worked for a 'boat load'of chefs that all agree, water and salt.  Here on the ship I cook the pasta without watching it all the time.  A few stirs here and there, my pasta comes out beautifully time and time again...and when I teach it to others they have the same experience, no oils or butters.  No sticking.

So what does the oil do?  In the water it will attach itself to the pasta but not consistently because of the moving boiling water.  And then when it does it 'seals' the pasta so to speak.  What is the outcome of this?  Ever had that plate of pasta bolegnese or spaghetti and meatballs only to have watery sauce in the bottom of that plate?  Yep thats what it did, locked the sauce out of soaking into the pasta.

Now, all that being said...I add olive oil (when available, its extra virgin 'the good stuff' right now) after the pasta is in the pan, yes it still locks out some of the sauce from attaching itself to the pasta but this is the compromise:  When you are at home and want to add the pasta straight into the sauce or vise versa and eat it right away I would never use an oil or butter directly on the pasta, because the fresh cooked pasta will suck it up like a child and a milkshake...BUT when you are feeding 400 plus people that little drizzle of olive oil mixed with the remaining wetness of the noodle keeps the pasta from sticking together in big clumps while it sits on the line.  So a compromise is made for the best.

I will only add additional oils or butters (besides the drizzle) if I am applying some herbs or flavors to  the pasta...otherwise, NO I do not.  Although our cooking teams may decide to cook things differently this is my standard.

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