Break out the wok! Why haven’t I been using it more? Actually my last one ended up in the donation pile after I weeded out essential kitchen tools from non-essentials during a move. I just hadn’t been using it all that much.

But since we’ve been getting into stir-fries lately (Happy Chinese New Year everyone!), I just had to give woks another try. First, they’re pretty inexpensive as far as pans go. Second, the newer versions aren’t like my old standard–the bottom is flat and then the sides curve upward (my old one was hard to balance on a gas stovetop).

After reading a recent article in the March issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray about using your wok for more than just Asian dishes, I figured it was time. Enter the wok. For quick-cooking food, the wok beats out my skillet, I’m happy to say. And as far as pasta dishes go it’s so much easier to toss a sauce and pasta together in a wok versus the flat-bottomed, spill-over-prone skillet.

Last night I made one of my favorite pasta dishes–gnocchi with ricotta, spinach & fontina cheese–in the wok. It sauteed everything perfectly.

Are you ready to get woking? (Forgive me, I had to use at least one lame pun.)

The key with using the wok for any dish is that the ingredients have to either cook fast or already be cooked before you add them in. So for pasta, you should cook it first in a deep, stockpot and then toss it with your sauce in the wok and any other ingredients you want to add in, like maybe diced ham, fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese…

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