We’re already big fans of pasta, any and every kind available, made from a variety of grains and cooked in different styles to suit the season, depending on what ingredients we have on hand besides of course, what mood we’re in.
But with time, energy and money becoming increasingly valuable resources, we figured that it wouldn’t hurt to learn some new, simple tricks to make pasta tastier, healthier and even better looking (after all, it’s not enough to have a delicious meal unless we can use social media to make other people jealous that they’re not getting a bite of it).
So here are three ingenious tips that chefs use all the time, but keep secret:
1. Respect The Texture: If your pasta is a delicate one like angel-hair vermicelli, then use a skinny sauce to match, such as a runny, mildly seasoned béchamel, or dunk it in a coconut milk-enhanced Asian-style broth. If you prefer rigatoni or penne, which are far sturdier, then they call for an accompaniment that is chunky, and can also handle meaty and spicy elements. Feel free to throw in roughly torn leafy herbs, crushed nuts or breadcrumbs to add even more textural layers.
2. Brighten Up The Flavors: If you thought nothing could replace the deliciousness of fat to flavor your pasta, think again. Acidity is where it’s at, and what separates dining out with home cooking. Bridge the gap by using souring agents such as freshly squeezed lemon juice or any kind of vinegar, whether balsamic, apple cider, red wine, rice wine or sherry, or even a hint of something unusual such as tamarind paste or powdered sumac, and add it to the sauce. This will make your pasta pop, but be sure to taste before you mix.
3. Pan-handle The Sauce: Boiling the pasta and draining it, then cooking the sauce and finally mixing the two before you serve, is traditional. But to get restaurant-worthy results, all you have to do is undercook the pasta a bit, then add it to the pan in which you’ve made the sauce. With gentle heat, stir in the pasta until it blends with all the sauce, and throw in a bit of the water that you cooked the pasta in, then serve immediately. This will make your dish glossy, distribute the sauce evenly, and every bite will taste just as good as the first one.
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