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  1. #1
    Deal GURU
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    Default The Do's and Don'ts of Perfect Spaghetti

    Pasta may be the most fabulously cheap and simple meal, but it's also the most misunderstood according to chef Scott Conant of the restaurant Scarpetta (locations in both Manhattan and Miami), named one of America's best new restaurants by Esquire. He shared some secrets with us at Serious Eats, so we'll never again find ourselves with a plate of soggy spaghetti and lifeless, loser tomato sauce.

    1. DO Read the Instructions: Spaghetti packaging recommends certain cooking times for a reason. Follow their advice! This is not an area where creativity is encouraged. Pay attention to the clock and don't overcook pasta—it's one of the most committed pasta faux-pas. (And here are some tips on which pasta shapes go with which sauces.)

    2. DON'T Add Too Much Water: The ratios of water-to-pasta are important. You want about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water for every one-pound box of dry pasta.

    3. DO Salt the Water: Add about one teaspoon of salt per quart of water before sticking the dry spaghetti into the boiling water. The salt and water should almost reach a broth-like consistency. The saline content in the water is important. Salted water for boiling is actually a very heated debate online. It remains the most commented-on recipe on Epicurious.com.

    4. DON'T Parcook Pasta: Parcooking, or partially cooking foods early so they take less time to cook when you're preparing to serve them, is definitely not recommended with pasta. But if you must, as in an emergency dinner party situation, put the pasta on a large tray (but don't stack it), let it cool, and drizzle olive oil on top.

    5. DON'T Try the Toss-Against-the-Wall Trick: Throwing food against a wall should be avoided, just generally speaking. "It's an old wive's tale," said Conant of this projectile method of checking pasta doneness. He recommends letting it cool for a second, then sticking it in your mouth. It should be firm, but not difficult to eat in any way.

    6. DO Gussy Up Packaged Sauces: There's no shame in cheating a tad with store-bought sauces. They provide a great base, but you should add your own flair. Try sauteing a couple cups of cherry tomato halves with salt, crushed red peppers, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. Add this to the pre-made sauce. The cherry tomatoes will release fresh flavors and create a nice balance with the tastes from the prepared sauce. Plus, you can easily throw this together during the pasta-boiling time frame.

    7. DO Toss Pasta with Sauce: Once the pasta is two minutes shy from being done, drain the pasta and add it to your tomato sauce creation. This will allow the noodles to finish cooking while soaking up the good tomato flavors. Plus, a fun chemical reaction will happen where the pasta releases starch to thicken the sauce. Watch this video with Mario Batali on how to sauce pasta for further guidance. Or listen to Mark Bittman, who takes a slightly different pasta-saucing approach.

    8. DO Finish the Dish with Fresh Toppings: Fresh basil takes the flavor to the next level, or try the garbage-pail sauce approach with nuts, raisins, and capers or kale and white beans.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to rtebalt For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Deal GURU
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    Default Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Perfect Spaghetti

    My Rome Italy host family taught me to make perfect spaghetti: Add salt a dash of olive oil and a dash of vinegar. When boiling add spaghetti. When a fork easily cuts through the spaghetti on the side of the pan it's done. Perfect spaghetti every time. I've done it that way for over 30 years.

  4. #3
    Budget101 Done Digging
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    Default Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Perfect Spaghetti

    Thank you rtebalt - very useful info.

 

 

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