Copyright, 2007, 2008 Maria Liberati
‘excerpted from The Basic art of Italian Cooking, Pasta!!Pasta!!
Pasta is one of Italy’s healthiest dishes and a staple of the Meditteranean diet. It is best eaten ‘al dente’ to experience pasta at its best. The quality of the pasta is just as important as the way it is cooked and here are some tips to follow before experiencing the first recipe in the Pasta!! Pasta!! Series:
*Pasta is best served in a round or oval serving dish. Put only a small amount of sauce on it, then place some extra sauce in a serving dish.
*If you must boil water for pasta quickly- subdivide the water into two pots and when they are both boiling, place together in one. Boil first the water without salt- then salted water next.
If during the cooking of the pasta you find out that the pasta is too salty tasting. You can fix this in one of two ways-
* If pasta is not totally cooked- boil another pot of plain unsalted water. Drain pasta and place in unsalted water for remaining time.
*If pasta is cooked to al dente- drain the pasta but place under hot running water in colander.
*If you taste pasta during cooking and find out that you have not salted enough- then right before draining pasta add a handful of fine salt and take to a full rolling boil for a few seconds before draining.
*When choosing dry pasta- always read the ingredients. Dry pasta should be made with 100% semolina flour or 100% durum wheat semolina flour. If ingredients do not include semolina flour- your pasta will be of a mushy consistency upon cooking and will never cook to an al dente consistency.
*Keep dry pasta in a dry place and be mindful of expiration date as well.
*Also, the pasta box should include the cooking time. Every shape and brand of pasta is different and cooking times can vary so this is very helpful in preparing the perfect pasta dish. Use this time as your guide but always remember that cooking ranges vary so always taste pasta a minute or two before cooking time is up- you may need a minute or so more or less than recommended time.
For more great recipes, get your copy of the bestselling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at http:///www.marialiberati.com and you can also get the Holiday booklet The Feast of the Seven Fishes and More with Holiday recipes at http://stores.lulu.com/marialiberati
BUCATINI WITH BROCOLETTI
1 lb of perciatelli or bucatini pasta
1 lb of brocoletti
2 garlic cloves
1 tblsp pignoli nuts
½ lb plum tomatoes
1 handful parsley
Grated pecorino cheese
5 tblsps of extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste
Wash broccoletti and boil in lightly salted water. Take out of water when done, saving the cooking water. In a sauté pan place in the olive oil with finely chopped garlic and onion, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add in tomatoes cut into small pieces, pignoli and broccoletti, add pinch of pepper and salt and let cook for 15 minutes.
Boil the water that you used to cook broccoletti and let cook till al dente and drain, Place in pan with sauce and toss to lightly coat. Sprinkle in handful of grated pecorino cheese, toss lightly and serve.