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91

The salt adds flavor, but it also helps reduce the gelation of the starch in the pasta. The starch in food is the form of microscopic grains. When these grains come into contact with water, they will trap some of it (think cornstarch in cold water), but when the water is hot they swell up like balloons and merge with each other, and you have starch ...


47

Italian here :) I know that the oil is a well known trick everywhere ... but Italy. The main problem about pasta is that people just tend to cook it too much. The cooking time for pasta should be between 8 and 12 minutes, above this number it will be sticky. Spaghetti is the quickest kind of pasta to get ready, so just cook it around 8-9 minutes and it won't ...


36

My secret weapon is onion. Caramelize the onions first. This creates a natural sweetness. Always use ripe tomatoes; if you cannot then use canned. The canned are made from ripe tomatoes and tend to be a very good substitute. Also, the celery and carrot suggestions are very much a good addition - you are making a classic tomato sauce when you include the ...


33

Ok, here is the straight dope, directly from De Cecco customer service: With reference to your question we would like to inform you that the numbers you mention do not have a logical criteria but are just code numbers which we give our products each time we make a new shape.


32

Don't add oil, it's unnecessary and just adds fat to your pasta. A better solution is to fix your timing issues by cooking the pasta later. Put the water on to boil before your sauce is done, but don't actually put the pasta in until the sauce is ready to go. Then, lower the heat on the sauce to keep it warm as the pasta cooks (which is only about 8 to 12 ...


29

Just add half a teaspoon (or even less) of white sugar. Typical Italian tomato-sauce always requires a bit of sugar (and not just to cut acidity).


24

This question was answered to some extent in another Pasta cooking question by Roux. This answer, which is basically just a link to a series of experiments by an MIT grad / Chef, dispels a number of myths about cooking pasta. For instance: Water will return to a boil in the same amount of time regardless of how much is in the pot prior to pasta being ...


21

You really don't need oil to keep your pasta from sticking. The water that you used to cook in has a lot of starch in it from the pasta. When you go to drain your pasta, you can reserve a small bit of the water you cooked your pasta in. When the time comes to serve, simply pour and stir the reserved water over the sitting pasta. Not only does this help ...


20

Pros Any colour you like (even black). With some machines you can make rainbow stripes just like toothpaste tubes do Any consistency you like, and more or less eggs, or just egg yolks. Add baking soda or Kansui to make stronger, more shape-able pasta (not more than 0.5% or it tastes soapy in a sauce) Any flavour you like (herbs, spices, extracts, extra ...


19

Yes, with any kind of 'stewing' sauce, the flavour improves the longer you cook it (provided it's a slow, gentle process). The longer you leave it, the more chance the flavours have to 'marry'. I have a recipe for a pasta sauce that calls for 6 hours of slow simmering! You may also have noticed in the past that left over pasta sauce that you eat the next ...


18

One answer to this is that Americans have a reversed understanding of the relationship of pasta to sauce compared to Italians. In Italy, the sauce is called the condimento, meaning literally it is a condiment to the noodles, which are intended to be the main source of enjoyment in the dish. When you begin to understand it that way, it makes sense that you ...


18

I would strongly suggest not pouring cold or any other kind of water on pasta; it will rinse the delicious starches off its surface, which would otherwise help your sauce cling to it. To counteract the negative consequences of overcooking due to remaining heat (which, as belisarius suggests in his answer, is the reason other stuff is often rinsed with cold ...


17

Just follow these recommendations (Italian here): Choose a well-known brand of Pasta. Use a big pot with a lot of water, this is really important. Stir pasta for a couple of minutes after pouring it in the hot water. DO NOT put lemon juice please. DO NOT put oil please. Cook it with the proper timing (ex: 8 minutes for spaghetti). Don't go blindly, use ...


16

After draining it, mix in a little oil, that should prevent it from sticking.


16

A few things can cause tomato sauces to become bitter: Overcooked spices. Both basil and oregano can become bitter with long simmers. Add them near the end of the process. Under-ripe tomatos. Store bought tomatoes are often picked green and ripened in the store. These tomatoes make less sweet sauces (which may be contributing). Cooking in an aluminium ...


15

It means that the pasta is seasoned as it is cooked. To see if this matters to you, cook up some pasta in plain water and then some in salted water and see if you can taste the difference.


13

You should boil noodles. Simmering is not the same as boiling. Boiling water is 212 ℉ (100 ℃). Simmering water is in the range of 185 ℉ to 200 ℉ (85 ℃ to 93 ℃). Your engineer friend is under the mistaken assumption that simmering is somehow a weaker boil than a rolling boil, but still 212 ℉. It's not. You are correct in your assumption that the more ...


13

Fats adhere to broad or flat areas nicely (fettucini, linguine) and press the creamier sauces against more tongue surface to enhance/emphasize their smoothness Pooling sauces needs nested, medium pasta (round or flat) that help to punctuate the sharper and more diverse flavors of a smooth, acidic by alternating between pasta and sauce Angel hair and other ...


13

One of the best reasons to make fresh pasta is to make your own tortellini and ravioli. It is simply impossible with dried pasta, since dried pasta no longer sticks to itself. There are more variations of fillings than the standard "cheese" or "meat" that are otherwise unavailable if you only buy filled pasta at a grocery store.


13

No, there's no need to wash the pasta, and really, it's best not to. It's good that the water gets cloudy from the pasta starch. If it has enough starch in it, it'll leave the surface of the noodles a bit stickier, making sauce adhere better. And you can also use some of the pasta water in a sauce to the same end. Getting the water that starchy generally ...


12

For the best of both methods, cook the pasta most of the way in water, then strain and dump into the sauce to let it finish the last few minutes of cooking.


12

Freeze it immediately, especially if you can do so in single layers.


12

One thing that varies is how much of the sauce adheres to the pasta, especially for pasta shapes that have ridges or hollow areas. Sometimes you'll have a sauce where you'll want chunks of it to stick to the pasta, and sometimes you just want the pasta to be flavored by the sauce, but eaten more by itself.


12

I always freeze my leftover fresh pasta. I lay it flat on a cookie sheet, place it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then when it is frozen I transfer it into a Tupperware container. I always use a rigid container instead of freezer bag as the bag does not protect against breakage when the pasta is moved around in the freezer.


12

Both contain protein. The amount varies by the type for cheese, although it appears to be about 20% - 35%. All dairy contains protein. There may also be milk or cream in the sauce, which would also be a contributing ingredient. Pasta also contains protein, but less than cheese. The amount depends on the type of flour used. It will also increase if egg is ...


12

Since al dente means "to the tooth", I always taste it and see :) To my way of thinking, texture and cooked-ness are two different things. The heat cooks the flour which makes up the pasta, but the time in the water allows the water to be absorbed and soften it. A dry noodle soaked overnight in a cup of water might attain an edible texture, but wouldn't ...


12

Adding water will thin a sauce, but the starch in the water does help it cling to the pasta, and adds some body to the sauce. Another key step is to finish cooking the pasta IN the sauce (in a skillet, usually) before serving, allowing the starchy pasta to absorb the sauce more completely.


12

"Al dente" is used to refer to food cooked so it is still "firm to bite" but not soft This is very important to pasta which should be removed from the cooking liquid just before it has fully cooked through, as like most foods, it will continue to cook after being removed from the heat source Always gently stir your pasta every minute or so while cooking to ...


12

I have found that one egg per one hundred grams of flour works very well. However, the process is important. Here is what I do: Combine the ingredients as you would, either by hand in a bowl, or in a food processor Knead the dough thoroughly until it comes together - NOTE: At this point, it is usually a bit on the dry side Wrap tightly in clingfilm, and ...



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