It’s hard to find better pasta than La Pasta di Aldo’s— handmade with just eggs and durum wheat semolina (there’s no added water as in most pastas on the market), the pappardelle from your Italy Box is of exceptional quality.
The founders of this small company roll and hang the dough by hand, so the texture remains perfectly chewy with a porous surface, enabling sauces to hold on well to the noodles. With pasta this good, it’s important to cook it properly, so here are 5 tips to ensure you do it justice in the kitchen.
1. Use lots of water
It’s always best to cook pasta in a large pot with lots of water: the water will come back to a boil faster after adding the pasta, longer pastas like spaghetti cook more evenly since they are able to fit into the pot more easily, and the added water helps wash away starches that would otherwise cause the noodles to stick together.
2. Don’t add oil
It’s common practice to add oil to the pot of boiling water, but it’s actually unnecessary! While oil prevents the pasta from sticking together, it also prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta. Simply cooking the pasta in a big pot with lots of water will do the trick just as well—and allow sauces to stick well.
3. Don’t skimp on salt
Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt (some Italians say the water should taste as salty as the sea!). You can always adjust the seasonings after the pasta is cooked, but the flavor will be more evenly and deeply distributed when the water itself is properly salted.
4. Save the cooking water
Before draining all the water from the pot, save some of the cooking water. This water is full of starch from the pasta and helps thicken sauces. Add it to your sauce little by little when mixing the pasta and sauce together.
5. Cook pasta just under al dente
Cook your pasta 1 to 2 minutes under the recommended cooking time. That way, when adding it to your sauce, the pasta will finish cooking and absorb the sauce better.