Italian people are extermely proud and especially conservative about their food. If you don’t cook somethng the right way you’re killing it!
I’ve never been much into cooking, but since now I’m living abroad I really feel the need to tell out loud some dumb basic rules and some other often misunderstood facts.
How to properly cook pasta
Pasta is like the easiest think to cook ever, but still seems like only Italian people can cook it right! How is it possible? Well just because you don’t do the followings:
- take a pot, fill it in with enough water, put a lid on (so it’ll boil faster) and then put it on the fire
- in the mean time prepare the sauce (make sure it’ll be ready together with the pasta)
- when the water is boiling hard (big bubbles, yes like a jacuzzi!) add the salt. This is fundamental, if you add it before water boils will take longer to boil, if you add it after it will be useless and if you don’t add it pasta will not get any taste. You should be using big grain salt (sale grosso) so that it melts slower. Quantity is more or less a big spoon every 500g of pasta.
- now you can add the pasta, remove the lid and lower a bit the fire (if there is foam just lower it more, and blow gently on it to go away, but please don’t add any oil).
- occasionally stir the pasta so it doesn’t stick to the bottom
- occasionally taste the pasta to check if it’s ready (yes this is the only way too know it)
- when the pasta is al dente drain it and put it back in its pot, without losing time add the sauce in the pot as well and stir it all together. This is also very important because if you leave the pasta “alone” it’ll get very dry and sticky; so if you really have to wait (or you just want to save it for another day) please add some olive oil and put it in a close recipient. You could also put the pasta in the sauce pan if there is enough space so that you have one less thing to clean (PRO TIP: baking for a short time the pasta in the sauce’s pan also helps it get more taste, but this doesn’t apply to all sauces)
- now you can eat your pasta! (Please again, don’t wait otherwise it’ll get cold, and I just hope you didn’t make any terrible sauce with ketchup or similar things :P)
- if you don’t finish it you can save the pasta in the fridge for some days (in a closed recipient) and afterwards I suggest to warm it up in a pan with some olive oil, it could also get even better than the first time you ate it!
- P.S. if you buy a cheap pasta or a not Italian brand, it’s mostly likely that it won’t cook properly! It’ll get very flabby or not homogeneously cooked.
Some other considerations
- Italians don’t just eat pasta, but it’s true we eat it very often (eg once a day or every two days) and it always tastes different! Pasta is also a very healthy, cheap, fast and good food, so why not?
- To eat pasta is almost like saying to eat meat, there is such a variety in shape taste and kind that you can’t really think it’s always the same…
- Italian food isn’t just pasta and pizza (they are just the mainstream) we have such a variety of dishes (form antipasti, primi, secondi, controni, dolci…) that you can’t even imagine, every region and every town has its own traditions and foods (just go check it!)
- keep it simple! Some of the best pastas and sauces are super basic and easy to make, you don’t have to just put a lot of thing together, but indeed choose few ingredients that go well together and you’ll get a great pasta (eg amatriciana, carbonara, aglio olio peperoncino, prosciutto panna e piselli…)
- don’t trust what not-italians say! What people do abroad is really different (=wrong), but do go check out giallozafferano.it for some very good recipes and tips!
Please feel free to commend and add your opinion.