Bucatini, Spaghetti, Linguine, Ravioli, Agnolotti, Penne, Rigatoni, Fettuccini, Fusilli, Capellini, Lasagne, Papperdelle, Tagliatelle, Garganelli, Cavatelli, Farfalle, Orecchiette. I love pasta it is one of my favorite vehicles for a delicious meal. Fortunately, for me, my husband makes one mean bowl of pasta. He spent a summer in college cooking in Italy and forever fell in love with the art of good pasta.
Last weekend we traveled to San Diego and stumbled upon a great restaurant called Cucina Urbana (seriously check it out if you live there). We had a house made bucatini with a lovely light tomato sauce with braised guanciale. My hubby finished his meal and was instantaneously elated and disappointed. He was amazed at the delicate, perfect nature of the bucatini and disappointed that he had not created the dish himself. On inquiring about his unique facial expression, I come to find out just how difficult bucatini is to make. Since the inside is hollow when you extrude the pasta it is very easy to collapse the noodle defeating the purpose of the pasta itself. It is easier to make larger noodles but the thinner the noodle, the smaller the hole, the more difficult the process. This bucatini was the smallest noodle I have seen and it was lovely.
My little tutorial made me realize just how much he loves his pasta and just how much he has taught me over the years. So in honor of all those little tips, I figured its time to pass them on…
1. Always salt the water! It should taste like the ocean and be at a raging boil before adding the dry pasta.
2. You do not need to add oil to the water it will not mix with the pasta. Instead when you drain the pasta add oil or butter to keep the noodles separated.
3. Cook the pasta al dente and remember it will cook a little more when you mix it with the sauce before serving.
4. Mix the pasta with the sauce! You shouldnt serve them separate, let the pasta soak up the sauce. It only takes a minute just mix them.
5. When making your sauce, never add raw wine at the end of the dish. Always make sure that the wine can cook out of the sauce before serving otherwise your just drinking raw alcohol.
6. Think about the textures of the vegetables you want and cook accordingly. Think Layers! For example if you are adding asparagus and want it al dente it needs to be added at the end of the dish. Throwing everything in together and cooking will result in a mish mash.
7. If you make your pasta from scratch, let it dry before hand or work enough gluten into it. It will have a better texture.
8. Pick your pasta shape last. Think about the sauce and then pick the pasta to compliment the dish.
9. Vinegar can heighten the flavor of dishes and sometimes brighten flavors like salt.
10. There is no base for a pasta like salted pig…..mmmmmmmm bacon