A perfect plate of pasta can solve all your woes, but getting it right is no easy feat. We know you have alfredo tried multiple tricks and you cannoli do so much, but we see endless pastabilities and think when it comes to pasta we can win any stroganoff. Sharing our secret tips (we are in the mood for spilling beans), #DSSCRecommends five hacks that will revolutionise your pasta and make cooking it as easy as macaroni.
Dough is the basis of your pasta, so getting is right is absolutely crucial and as we say – happy dough, happy pasta. Type 00 flour is what builds this beautiful dish, so get the best quality (iL Molino is available here) and bring the flour & eggs together with love and care (yes, we are very sentimental about our pasta and if you think that’s dramatic, you haven’t seen an Italian knead the dough). One egg for every 100 grams of flour, the cardinal rule we follow when getting our hands doughy. Fresh eggs, the right flour and to the T measurements, your first building block for a perfect plate of pasta. Make a well of flour, crack the eggs, and whisk, gently bringing in flour from the sides. Once the crumbs are formed and the dough is still slightly sticky, it’s time to knead.
The Knead & Roll
Over kneading, under kneading is what leads to pasta-fall. Nailing it on the head and getting that perfect consistency of dough that rolls through the machine easier than we dunk gin & tonic is the ultimate trick. How to achieve it? Once the dough has come together, gently knead with uniform pressure by pushing it down & away, and turning repeatedly until a soft, satin consistency is achieved and do not forget resting the dough is of utmost importance.
When rolling the dough work in smaller batches and ensure not to overwork it before passing through the pasta machine. As long as the dough is soft it’s good to use, if it starts feeling hard and you feel resistance when pressing into it, discard. Don’t let the pasta dry out, always keep it covered with a tea towel as you work your way through the smaller batches.
In a big bowl of water, add salt and bring to boil. Chuck in pasta only once the water is boiling completely, otherwise you might have an impasta situation at hand. This rule holds for both fresh and store bought pasta. If you are one of the people who pour a ton of olive oil in water to prevent sticking, we have news for you, adding olive oil only prevents the water from boiling over, the myth is busted. One tablespoon oil will do the job, so cut back instead of going no holds barred. Do not forget to stir, as that will indeed prevent the pasta from sticking together.
If you like your pasta al dente, take it off the stove before it reaches that stage. As Marco Pierre White always says – cook your pasta in the sauce. So, use those 5 minutes of cooking in the sauce rather that salted water, allowing more time for the sauce to stick to your pasta and them to come together. Another trick to remember is adding pasta to sauce and not vice versa. This simple switch can make a ton of difference and even when making aglio oilo, add olive oil and garlic before adding in spaghetti.
Getting It Together
Save some pasta water when draining pasta and add it to your sauce when the pasta is cooking. The pasta water is often regarded as liquid gold. Why? Starch! The water contains a good amount of starch which was released during boiling, thus when added to sauce, it increases the flavour, helps the sauce bind to the pasta and gives it a silky texture. Added advantage, not feeling guilty about wasting a ton water down the drain. Some chefs store this water in ice trays, to be used in cooking later.
If you have some tricks up your sleeve that help you make your pasta bellissimo, share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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