I was requested by one of you about the right steps to follow to cook pasta the Italian way!
For an Italian, pasta must be al dente! A different cooking is unacceptable. if you don’t know what it means, also Wikipedia defines this term:
Properly cooking pasta is not very difficult but it’s very very important if you want to obtain a good plate.
In order to cook pasta you need to follow some very simple rules.
First of all, buy pasta. Prefer Italian brands and avoid “fast cooking pasta” that is pre-cooked. When I was in London, my flat mate used to buy this rapid pasta but it’s nit the same thing. Moreover what do you gain when you use it? You buy yourself 5 minuets? It’s not worth it.
I can give you some suggestions about my favourite brands of durum wheat pasta. Some of them are easy to find abroad too. In the following link you’ll find a chart of the best italian pastas. In my opinion and according to my taste, it’s quite accurate! There are some artisanal brands (which can be very hard to find abroad) and there are also some industrial very very very good ones. Check the brands under the title “la migliore pasta italiana industriale”. My favourites are all in that list, and you’ll probably find them close to home. For instance, I’m a huge fan of Voiello pasta. I find it delicious. In my opinion, also De Cecco and Garofalo are amazing.
I am so lucky that sometimes I have the possibility of buying Masciarelli artisanal pasta directly in their factory shop!! Amazing quality! But I don’t think you’ll have this opportunity out of Italy.
Here are the basic steps for a nice pasta al dente, ready to be completed with your favourite sauce!!
Make the water boil (a high pan with a big quantity of water)
Put the salt into the water (1 or 2 punches, depending on the quantity of water)
As soon as the water boils, put the pasta into the pot. Never ever even think about putting the pasta before the water boils.
Give a quick mix to the pasta.
Check the timing given on the packaging to have the pasta properly cooked. If it’s written 10 minutes, taste it after 9 minutes to see if it’s fine. Surely it will never have to cook 15 minutes, otherwise it will become sticky and overcooked. Italians love it “al dente”. Grannies that have no teeth eat overcooked pasta!!
As soon as pasta is ready, drain it and put the sauce on it. Don’t wash it under cold water!!
If you need to cook pasta with its sauce a couple of minutes before serving, you must drain it a bit sooner.
For any further question….I’ll be pleased to answer you.