Cooking The Perfect Pasta

Pasta is my go-to meal because it’s so easy to make. It’s versatile too, and appeals to me because I love to experiment with my food. I can boil, bake or fry it, and pair with whatever sauce I like. The Italians are so blessed to have created this.

Cooking Tips

I decided to check out some tips on making the perfect pasta, from chefs with lots of experience. They said:

  1. Fill a large pan with enough water, add sea salt and bring to boil. You could also add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
  2. Add the pasta to the water and bring it back up to boil. Always stick to the instructions on the package.
  3. When the time is up, taste to see if it’s firm to the bite, if so, this is what the Italians call al dente, and is a perfect consistency. You could experiment with the timing, till you can make pasta that isn’t undercooked or overcooked.
  4. Do not rinse as it washes away the taste and nutrients, but immediately drain in a colander.

Choosing the Right Pasta for Sauce

I was surprised to learn that there are so many shapes and sizes of pasta available because I’m only used to spaghetti and macaroni. Of course, I had all these questions on how to pair them with sauces rightly, and I want to share the answers I got. Generally, thinly shaped pasta goes best with light sauces, while larger ones go best with thick sauces.

TUBES

These shapes are great for thick sauces, and the more ridged it is, the better for trapping the sauce.

Orecchiette (kid-friendly, and an excellent substitute for macaroni) – drier sauces.
Rigatoni – baked, and winter dishes.
Penne (smaller than rigatoni) – light tomato-based sauce.
Bucatini (thick shape) – thick sauces containing meat.

Rigatoni – perfect for a hearty pasta bake in the winter
RIBBONS

These round strands cover more range. The most common kinds of pasta belong to this group.

Spaghetti – light tomato sauce and olive oil-garlic combination.
Cappellini (called “angel hair” in the US) – light garlic and olive-oil sauces.
Fettuccine and Tagliatelle (wide and flat) – creamy sauces eg., Alfredo.
Pappardelle (thick) – thick sauces containing meat.

Tagliatelle – this ribbon-style pasta will suit a thick creamy sauce 
SHORT AND SHAPELY

These are perfect for side dishes, and vegetable sauces, as the pasta has holes via which it can trap the sauce better.

Fusilli (curvy with spirals) – pasta salads, creamy sauces and light meat sauces.
Farfalle (bowtie-shaped) – seafood sauces, and creamy sauces.
Ravioli (square shaped) and tortellini (half-moon) – light stock, and creamy sauces with stuffings.

There are still so many other shapes. However, I hope this will be the right push for you to give cooking the perfect pasta a trial.

I’ve been craving some creamy mushroom sauce, so now I’ve got to go shopping for some tagliatelle to complement it.

Some of our popular pasta recipes

Creamy Seafood spaghetti

Creamy Seafood Pasta

Baked Mac n’ Cheese

What’s your favourite pasta?

Share with me on Twitter and tag @dailyteaspoon or #dailyteaspoon!

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