From its origins in China to its status as an Italian classic, it’s no wonder that pasta in all its glory is known as one of the world’s most popular foods and has become a staple of the UK diet. But do you really know how best to cook and serve it?
Cooking perfect pasta
From Italian restaurants in Dublin to gourmet pubs in London, you can be sure that chefs all know the secrets of cooking pasta perfectly and you can join their ranks with our tips. For the low down on how to get it right every time, why not review Italian chef Laura Santtini’s advice on.
Every pasta expert agrees that you should use a large pot full of salted boiling water so there’s plenty of room for the pasta to move around or it will stick together in a doughy mess. What experts don’t always agree on is the addition or otherwise of olive oil to the pot as well. Try it both ways for yourself and then choose which way works best for you. One tip which everyone agrees on is to keep some of the cooking water back to add to your sauce to help it stick to whatever shape pasta you’ve chosen. A chef’s trick to add to your pasta cooking is to remember that pasta keeps on cooking once out of the pan so drain it when it’s ‘al dente’ (with some bite) and it will have softened up by the time you serve it.
Serving perfect pasta
One of the nation’s favourite pasta meals is spaghetti bolognese and whether you cook it at home or plump for it in a restaurant like forno500, rather than the authentic accompaniment of spaghetti, why not try large tubes or shells with the delicious sauce.
As a rule of thumb, thick sauces are best paired with larger pasta shapes and lighter or creamier sauces work best with thinner shapes like linguine. Generally, thick, rich sauces work best with larger pasta shapes like tagliatelle, and creamy, light sauces work well with strands of vermicelli. For a simple meal like pasta with pesto, twists like fusilli are a good choice. Baked pasta and cheese dishes call for sheets of lasagne or tubes like penne, macaroni and rigatoni.