Many people all over the world love Italian food. Often people have in mind a very specific look and taste for the best pizza and pasta.
No one knows better Italian food as much as the Italians do, so here are some tips to make you as much of an expert on pasta.
1. Ingredients’ Quality
When judging whether any pasta is good by Italian standards, you should look at the ingredients used to make it. The type of grain used and the quality of the water adds to the quality of the pasta. For example, in Italy, pasta is made with durum wheat semolina. There are also various kinds of pasta made with other grains such as whole wheat pasta, Kamut and Farro pasta as well as corn, rice, and buckwheat pasta. If the water added to the wheat is not of good quality, the pasta won’t have good quality either.
2. Shape and Look of the pasta
You can discover a lot about pasta by just looking at it. Good quality pasta usually has a very unique yellow colour with very little to no black specks, white spots or other imperfections. This is ensured by proper growing, storing, milling and drying of wheat. During and after cooking if you look at the pasta and there is a large amount of starch, then it isn’t good quality. A good pasta shouldn’t release an excess of starch or get stuck together.
Another property of good pasta is that it will always cook al dente even if left for a couple extra minutes on the stove, however, it is advised that you keep an eye on the stove if boiling pasta because overcooking is always a possibility. Another thing to keep in mind is that each pasta shape is designed for a certain purpose. Each shape is made to pair well with certain sauces and in certain dishes, for example, small pasta is better suited for soups and kinds of pasta that have holes in the middle like rigatoni are designed that way to cook evenly throughout.
3. Cooked Pasta
When cooking pasta, there are certain steps that Italians always take to ensure that the pasta comes out perfectly Al dente every time. To know them you first need to understand what al dente means. Al dente is the stage when the pasta is cooked yet not overcooked. You judge if a noodle is Al dente or not by tasting it. If it does not snap when bitten into but is still firm, then you have reached the desired consistency. When cooking spaghetti take a bit out of a noodle and looks cross-section, and if there is a tiny part in the exact middle of the noodle that is whiter than the rest, then you have to take the pasta off the heat.
People think that you can judge if a pasta is cooked correctly by flinging two or three at a wall and wait to see if they stick, however that just causes messy walls. A great tip to cook pasta well is to not add water and when draining the pasta to leave some of the pasta water in case the sauce is too thick
Now you have the required information to become a pasta expert and judge the quality of a staple in Italian cuisine all over the world. It may seem like something small but it is extremely relevant if you’re going to be making and eating quality food, and that is more important than we’d like to admit!