Winter is time for heartier foods, like soups, stews, and pasta. We have been watching the Italian pasta experts and have come up with the “how to cook pasta like a pro” tip sheet below. We are not suggesting or giving pointers on how to make homemade kosher pasta as I personally have only tried this once and while the pasta was fresh tasting and doughy, the kitchen was a disaster and the effort not all that appreciated by the family. (For a great recipe based on ready-made gluten-free pasta, check out this recipe for Gluten Free Thai Pasta from The Jewish Hostess.) Many would disagree but I say save the time and make fresh challah and cook dried pasta like a pro for a tasty and easy meal.
• Season the water generously with salt. For each pound of pasta, use 6 quarts water and 3 generous tablespoons of kosher salt. Don’t salt the water until it’s boiling.
• Never boil a sauce until you have added the cooked pasta to the sauce. Reheat it all together.
• Go light on sauce. Heavy sauces are very 2009. The dish will feel lighter, cleaner and more balanced. Use the starchy water that you cook the pasta in to lighten sauces.
• Add fresh herbs after tossing the pasta with the sauce, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Herbs get overcooked and flavorless with too much heat. They add terrific flavor and color to pasta but many people add them too early and kill the herb flavoring.
• Remove the pan of pasta and sauce from the heat before adding the cheese. This prevents the cheese from getting overly stuck together. Adding the cheese at the end gives freshness to the dish, subtle cheese flavor, and helps it melt to the perfect consistency.
• Experiment with different types of cheese like ricotta, Boursin, goat cheese, and even Brie on pasta. They liven up all the ordinary to extraordinary.
Here are a few pasta specialties that are easy to make, really flavorful, and always a big hit.
Easy Lemon Pasta with Grilled Chicken
Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers (And Salmon too, optional)
Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese