The Art of Preparing a Perfect Pasta
Use at least one quart of water for every four ounces of dry semolina pasta. If you skimp on water, there will not be enough to dilute the starch, and the pasta will have a soft coating and will not cook evenly.
Bring the pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of salt for every 4 quarts of water. Drop the pasta all at once into the boiling water, keeping the heat high. Cook the pasta, uncovered, at a fast boil. Don’t hurry. Pasta added to water before it starts to boil turns out mushy and sticky. The water temperature drops when you add the pasta, but if you have a fast boil, the water should stay hot enough for proper cooking.
After you add the pasta to the boiling water, stir with a long wooden spoon to keep the noodles moving freely and cooking evenly.
Cooking al dente means preparing the pasta so that the noodles are tender but still firm, and it is the best way to do justice to your pasta. To be sure, remove a noodle from the pot and take a test bite. Do not procrastinate on this one; your noodles will continue to soften after your remove them from the stove and as you drain them.
Except when using thin or brothy sauces such as marinara, pasta needs to be moist to combine well. So drain it quickly, remove it from the colander and place it back in the cooking pan to keep warm, tossed with a little olive oil, or use warmed serving bowls. Then use a fork and spoon and quickly toss it with the sauce.
This recipe is bursting with superb flavor and character.
Serves 2 to 3
Up to1 pound (12 to 16 ounces) dry penne pasta
3 tablespoons cold-pressed, olive oil
2 to 3 shallots, chopped
2 cloves, minced garlic
2 or more sliced, fresh tomatoes
One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
1 teaspoon basil
6 or more sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Soy Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook pasta. In skillet sauté in olive oil, chopped shallots, minced garlic, sliced chopped fresh tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Add basil, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté for 12 to 15 minutes. Add to cooked pasta and top with grated soy Parmesan cheese if desired.
This is one of our favorite recipes, a delightful pasta entrée with splendid flavor.
Serves 2 to 3
12 ounces dry linguine, cooked
1 head of cauliflower
Cold-pressed, olive oil
1 large onion, Vidalia if possible
1 can (about 1 quart) plum tomatoes
Crushed red paper flakes
Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Sauté in several tablespoons of olive oil until lightly browned; then add the chopped onion and sauté the mix until the onion is transparent. Break tomatoes into the mixture and cook for about 20 minutes or more over medium heat, adding black pepper, salt and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Serve over cooked linguine.
Variation: At time of simmering, add two cloves chopped garlic, slightly more tomato, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, and 2 tablespoons yellow raisins.