When you think about pasta, we tend to focus on the pasta sauce. However, the pasta itself is a very important element. Soba (buckwheat noodle) soup would not be good without good soba.
My pasta recommendations are “De Cecco” and “Barilla”.
Although there are a lot of different kinds of pasta, these two are relatively easy to find.
De Cecco’s surface feels rough so it holds the sauce well. I use this one. As for Barilla, the surface is smooth, and does well “Al dente”. Whichever you’d like…
These pastas are pricey compared to other pastas. Maybe 3 times more expensive as the cheapest ones. However, You are spending a lot of time making the sauce. It deserves a good pasta!
[Here is how to cook pasta.]
You will need a big size pot. As you know, “cook pasta with a plenty of water”.
When you put pasta in boiling water, the temperature of the water becomes lower. When the pot is big, it quickly gets back to boiling. It should reboil within 1 minute.
Next is salt. In terms of proportion, the salt should be 1.5%.
You won’t use any more salt later. It is actually quite salty when you put 1.5% salt. You will adjust saltiness with the hot water with salt you use to cook pasta. However, you can adjust for taste.
These are the salt and the pot I use. At my restaurant, I would go through 1kg/ 2.2lbs salt in 3 days…
Next is…how long to cook pasta…as mentioned earlier, I use “De Cecco”, especially De Cecco #11 (1.6 mm) spaghetti.
The instruction says that the cooking time is 9 minutes. However, It will vary at times…between 7-10 minutes even though you use the same pasta, the same pot, under the same condition. I am not quite sure the reason why…It might be depending on the time of the year, pasta’s condition, etc…I found out about it through my experience. So, please taste it earlier than the instruction. Even if the instruction time comes, if it is still hard for you, cook longer until it becomes as you like.
I sometimes purchase cheaper pasta. It takes a few times to the cooking timing right. For example, one of the pasta’s instruction said to cook for 8 minutes, when 4 minutes was enough.
Please try not to fully trust books or/and blogs…They are just the references.
There is one more thing…Stir it! Once you cook pasta for 1-2 minutes, stir it very well. It is hard to stir earlier than that since it is still hard. Don’t forget to stir, or it would be a disaster…
The important things are pasta, pot, salt, time, and stir. When you follow these, the pasta could be very tasty with only olive oil, parmesan cheese, and black pepper.