Pasta on my mind

Here I am on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, sitting in a coffee shop sipping a foamy cappuccino and I am thinking about how wonderful this moment is. Sure, I should be writing my business charter for class but instead I have decided to look at delicious food that makes my tummy rumble. Researching recipes online unfortunately takes up way too much of my free time. Now I have adopted apartment hunting and DIY decorating tips onto my long list of procrastination techniques.

I saw some amazing recipes on The Chew today. This is seriously one of my favorite TV shows. I will be a little sad when I graduate because I will not be able to enjoy that hour break in my day. Today’s recipes were all focused around pasta! Being one of my favorite foods, I was literally drooling while watching this episode. Mario Batali gave some really important tips for cooking pasta. I wish I could find them online but here is what I remember:

  1. Always salt the pasta water – Luckily I have always known this tip but many people who see me cook are surprised when I add salt into the pasta water. It is very important to salt the water so that it flavors the pasta itself.
  2. Under-cook the pasta – There is nothing worse to me than over-cooked pasta. Mario himself says to cook the pasta for one minute less than package directions. When pasta has finished cooking, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Let it finish cooking in the sauce. If you are making a baked pasta dish such as baked ziti or lasagna, cook for about half of the package time to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the oven.
  3. Do not rinse the pasta – Pasta that has just been cooked has starches left on the pasta itself. This acts as a binding agent with the sauce.
  4. No need for oil – I had never seen my family add oil to pasta water, so growing up I was always surprised to see people put oil in their pasta water. As long as the pot of water is large enough, there is enough room for the pasta to cook. I promise the pasta will not stick if you allow enough space. Also, dress the pasta right after it has been drained. Add your sauce of choice, olive oil, butter, whatever you would like on it right after the pasta has been cooked.
  5. Reserve a cup of pasta water – A wonderful way to stretch a pasta sauce is to reserve a small amount of the starchy, wheat infused water from where the pasta was cooked. The starch acts as a thickening agent which is perfect to add to a sauce.
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