The Top Ten Taste Tempting Tips To
Preparing Perfect Pasta
Have you ever wondered why your pasta is sticky or mushy -- or cold and watery -- when you just KNOW it's perfect in other places? Properly cooked pasta doesn't just happen. What was second nature to your friend's Italian Grandma is becoming a lost art. But now YOU can make everybody sit up and take notice of your pasta too. Now THIS is comfort food with a true Italian touch!
- Use a big pot and fill it a lot.
If the pot you use is too small, your pasta will stick to the bottom. And there should be PLENTY of water. Italian tradition is to have lots of food. When it's pasta and sauce alone, 4 oz. per person is fine for hearty appetites. When it's being served with a salad, meatballs, or vegetables in the pasta, 3 oz. per person is ok. But always plan for an extra person! And remember, good quality pasta absorbs a lot of water.
- There's much less toil and trouble when you make the water bubble.
Bring the water to a rolling boil before adding pasta. If you're in too big a hurry and put the pasta in the water too soon, you'll end up with mushy noodles.
- Salt is supposed to be so bad -- should I leave it out or should I add?
Don't add salt at all until the water has already boiled. Then it really "boils down" to a matter of taste. If you aren't sure how you like your pasta, try two pots of the same size with the same amount of water and the same amount of pasta. Cook and drain both, then have someone mix them up and have you do a blind taste test. You'll discover if you like it with salt or without.
- Put it all in and give it a spin.
Put all your pasta in the water at the same time and stir until it's all completely covered with the water.
- If you want good taste, don't leave your place.
Don't walk out of the room once the pasta is cooking. It might seem unimportant, but 60 seconds cooking too long can really ruin your pasta.
- A simple trick so it doesn't stick.
Stir often (about every two minutes). This will keep your pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and from sticking to itself.
- You can get it just right by checking the "bite".
It's amazing how many "secrets" you hear to cook the pasta to perfection. The one and only real and authentic method is to pull out a noodle and take a bite. When it's the way you like it, it's perfect!
- It only takes one time to learn -- drain it right to avoid the burn.
You should always use a colander to drain your pasta. Using the lid on the pot to pour off the water into the sink might seem like a shortcut, but it can result in a serious burn. Besides, the pasta doesn't get completely drained and it will be watery when served.
- Pasta power doesn't need a shower.
Don't rinse unless you are making a cold pasta salad or serving people in "shifts". In today's Italian house, sometimes you have to be ready for many people quickly. After it's been drained the first time, keeping the pasta in cold water will keep it ready to redrain and serve. I know you've heard stories about having to rinse the starch off. But think about it. Your pasta just took a bath in boiling water. Take it from me -- it's clean. You may have also heard the Italian proverb that says, "Friends are like macaroni. If they're not warm, they're not good." That IS true. But your pasta will warm just fine when stirred and covered with sauce.
- It'll hit the spot when you serve it hot.
Once drained, serve the pasta immediately with you favorite sauce. Keep the sauce hot and ready to warm the waiting pasta for serving. Hey, why not use a traditional Pasta Bowl? Many people consider their Pasta Bowl a family heirloom! Turn off the TV, gather the family around the table and enjoy! When your pasta is prepared with love, it becomes more than just food -- it's a wonderful memory.
By Joe Marino of The Italian Store
Being an Italian women, I find myself making pasta at least 2 to 3 times a week. I suppose it is normal to always cook and find new ways of working with the food. I actually prepare my pasta as you have stated, but once drained very good I then throw it back into the pan and add alittle butter to make it silky and non-sticky. I found that without mentioning to others that were over for dinner, they have commented that the pasta is just wonderful. I shared my little secrete with the butter and they have now gone with that preparation on their pasta cooked meals.
I just thought I would be kind enough to share this as you have yours.
Thanks for the insight.