THE DOS AND DONTS OF MASTERING YOUR PASTA LIKE A REAL ITALIAN
Don’t salt the water before it boils.
Some they say that by salting the water before it boils, will help water to boil sooner. This is not entirely untrue, but it doesn’t make enough of a difference to matter. A pinch of salt only raises the boiling point of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Don’t add oil to the pot…
…in an attempt to keep the spaghetti from sticking together.
Stirring with a pasta fork is much more effective.
Don’t throw pasta onto the wall to see if it’s done.
Your pasta is ready when it’s ready. An Italian will know when pasta is cooked just by looking at it. We do taste it but without paying too much attention to the timing.
Drain, don’t dry.
Drain your pasta enough to remove most of the water. But don’t let drained pasta sit and dry off. As it cools, the pasta will stick together becoming gluey.
Don’t eat pasta with a spoon.
An Italian would never ever use a spoon to eat pasta. Not even when pasta is served in broth. Pasta is eaten by using a fork and a fork only. Forget the twirling in a spoon. You shouldn’t cut pasta with a knife either.
Don’t mix spaghetti with meatballs.
This is the recipe foreigners love most. However we never eat pasta with meatballs. We might eat pasta with a meat sauce (ragout), which is made with minced meat.
Do use a large pot.
By using a large pot, you prevent pasta from sticking together. When pasta begins to cook and expand, there will still be plenty of room for the spaghetti not to stick to itself.
Do pour the spaghetti into the water only when it’s boiling.
Not a second before. Pasta that is added too soon, will be soggy and improperly cooked. And there is no way you can save your meal.
Do drop and stir it.
As soon as you drop your pasta in the water, stir it. This prevents the pasta from sticking together or to the bottom or sides of the pot. Stir occasionally during the cooking process.
Do keep some of the cooking water.
Yes, it’s true: before you drain your pasta, ladle a cup of cooking water into a bowl and reserve for your sauce. It will help pasta and sauce mix together.
Do cook it al dente.
Timing is key and Italian pasta must be eaten al dente, which means tender but firm to the tooth.
Do eat pasta everyday if it’s your main (and only) meal.
Pasta is healthy and increases the level of a chemical called serotonin in the body. Serotonin is used by the brain to trigger positive feelings, so pasta makes you feel good!
Do kiss each other like Lady and the Trump!
Pretend to slurp up the same strand of spaghetti, then, when that single strand is about to finish, you will find yourself mouth to mouth with your dog, ahem, lover, gazing into each other’s eyes and enjoying a lingering kiss.
Allegra is an Italian freelance journalist, writing for Corriere della Sera, the local issues relevant to her hometown, Florence, and for The Huffington Post, with a blog on politics.
She has been working within the fashion industry for 14 years, travelling worldwide and covering all aspects of it, from creativity to managing. She spent two years working as a digital business strategist in Tech City, London where she moved three years ago for the second time, with her husband and their daughter Viola. Her blog is www.theblairmumproject.com