The Seasonal Chef


What’s not to like about pasta? Almost every cuisine has a form of pasta made into a multitude of shapes. For awhile, the “low carbohydrate” militants made many folks feel guilty if they ordered it at a restaurant. But now, it seems most reasonable people understand it is healthy to eat a balanced diet and just to limit the portion size for well-being.

Pasta comes in dried and fresh forms; neither one is better than the other, the choice is typically made based on the usage. This week’s recipes call for dried pasta.

As a general rule, I recommend imported dried pasta made with semolina. Store pasta in an airtight container in a cool dry place. The most important point to remember when preparing it is to make sure the cooking water returns quickly to a boil after you drop in the pasta.

For best results, choose a large pot, one that holds about six to eight quarts. Fill it three-quarters full with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and then add the salt—about two tablespoons of sea salt—to cook the pasta. Let the water return to a rolling boil and then add the pasta all at once.

Stir it briefly with a wooden spoon to keep it from sticking and make sure the heat is on high. The water should return to a rapid boil after a few seconds. You can cover the pot to bring the water back to a boil quickly, but be sure to remove the lid as soon as the water boils or else the pasta will steam. Stir the pasta once or twice during cooking.

It should still be slightly firm to the bite,

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