How to Cook Perfect Pasta (A How Too Guide)

Pasta is a food that is loved by many across the globe. It's famous for being a cuisine from Italy, although it has interesting origins that actually come from China. Nowadays, it's served everywhere - from New York to New Dehli - as a popular Italian dish. But not all pastas are created equal! Here's a bit more about pasta and how you should make it.

Where does pasta come from?

If you like your food, you've probably thought once or twice about how similar pasta and Asian noodles can be. This is no coincidence - many believe that Marco Polo, an Italian traveller, discovered noodles in China in the 13th century and brought them back to Italy. However, it may have also reached Italy along the ancient Silk Routes (long before the 13th century).

However it was introduced, Italy took to pasta by storm. This was due to how versatile it was, how affordable the ingredients were, and how easy it was to store. Italian chefs found that pasta took exceptionally well to traditional Mediterranean ingredients, such as olives, different cheeses, and local vegetables. By combining the pasta with these ingredients, Italian chefs created the dishes that we know and love today.

How to cook pasta

Pasta Machines

Cooking pasta is easy - boil water in a saucepan, put in dried pasta, and cook for ten minutes, right? That's certainly one way to cook pasta, but if you want to go the extra mile (particularly if you own a restaurant), you should try to make your own pasta dough.

This is relatively easy - you just need to get your kneading technique right! To make homemade pasta, you first need to create a dough with wheat flour, semolina, and an egg. Then knead these ingredients into a ball - the kneading can take up to 10 minutes to get it looking doughy in texture. Then you need to cover the ball and leave it to rest - this should be for at least 30 minutes, but you can leave it for up to two days.

Top Tip: Always look for 00 flour to make your pasta smooth and silky.

You'll need a pasta maker to create the final product - using one of these, you could create lasagne sheets, spaghetti, farfalle (bow-tie pasta) or even fusilli! Just follow the instructions on the pasta maker according to whatever kind of pasta you want to make. Once you have the raw pasta pieces, you can cook them easily in a saucepan of boiling water - it takes 2-3 minutes for fresh pasta.

Did you know the best way to cook pasta is to add salt to the cooking water? Don't add oil, this will just float to the top of the water. Add your salt to the water once is starts to boil, then add your pasta. Adding salt to the water is said to raise the boiling point of the water, but in reality it just makes your pasta taste better.

At Cooksmill we have pasta makers ideal for home use and professional pasta makers suitable for use in commercial kitchens.

Pasta sauce ideas

Perfect Pasta Plates in a Range of Colours

Fresh pasta is delicious on its own, but you'll probably want to add some sauce to make it even more delectable. Here are some ideas for exquisite pasta sauces:

  • Aglio e Olio - this is a traditional pasta dressing made from olive oil and garlic. It's very simple and quick to make, and if your pasta is fresh, it will be delicious! If you like spicy food, you could also add some chilli to the oil.
  • Pesto - just like pasta, pesto is miles better if you make it yourself. It's very simple to make - just use a food processor to mix basil, garlic, lemon, pine nuts and parmesan. Almost as easy as buying it from the shop!
  • Puttanesca - this is a simple tomato-based sauce with a tangy kick. As well as fresh or tinned tomatoes, you will use capers, olives, and anchovies.
  • Carbonara - this recipe is a classic dish that you'll find on many menus around the world. To make it, you'll need eggs, parmesan, pancetta and garlic. You'll mix the eggs and cheese together, and add them to the pasta right at the end to give them a chance to cook. It's a tricky recipe to get right, but it is loved by so many - so it's worth taking the time to learn how to make it properly! If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute the pancetta for mushrooms.

As you can see, traditional pasta sauces are generally quite simple, with only a few ingredients. The flavour of the pasta is so delectable that you really don't need much to make them pop.

Pasta is a food that is loved by millions of people across the world. If you want to up your pasta game, whether in your own restaurant or at home, you should really try cooking it the traditional Italian way. It's a lot easier than it looks, and the end result is much tastier! We sell lots of cooking utensils, some of which are incredibly useful to make pasta and its sauces. Click here to see all of our cooking utensils. Once your dish is mastered show it off on one of the perfect pasta dishes from the Seasons range of Porcelite.

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