I went to the Los Angeles Times' Festival of Books for one reason: to watch Mark Peel entertain us with his culinary prowess. On this warm Sunday afternoon, the audience felt as though they were the ones being roasted (yours truly included). Mark decided to share his updated version of a comfort food classic - tuna noodle casserole, one of his recipes featured in "New Classic Family Dinners".
One star quality of a celebrity chef is their gregarious nature. Mark's storytelling ability was no exception. We learned about his family life, the lively suppers at Campanile, and even a couple of pointers in the kitchen. Maybe you recognize them, maybe you don't. Either way, there was some tasty cooking going on.
Pasta advice: After cooking and draining, do not rinse! Otherwise the sauce will not effectively adhere to the pasta. Instead, add a splash of olive oil and pop in the refrigerator until needed. This only holds true for hot pasta dishes.
Herb advice: Fresh is always preferred unless you are one - oregano! For whatever reason, dried is more flavorful.
Tuna advice: Canned is not a bad thing. For the best, pay attention to a few things. First, the lesser known brands typically are not found at eye level (it's a marketing ploy). For maximum flavor, you'll also want to find one packed in oil and from Spain. But you don't have to take my word for it. Take Mark's.