Vrasimo Makaronion ( Pasta Boiling)
|~ Do I boil the spaghetti the right way?
~ It is true that boiling our pastas the right way is not such a difficult mission.
~ Did you ever ask your self if you are doing it the right way and for the right reasons?
~ There are however certain basic rules that should be followed.
~ And let’s begin from the most important which is the selection of the right saucepan.
~ It should be big enough and with height bigger than the diameter of the bottom in order to be able to hold the essential quantity of water.
~ The rule is 1 litre of water per 100gr of pasta.
~ Nevertheless, it is good the use a higher quantity of water than indicated because it is important during the relatively short duration of boiling, is to maintain the constant temperature of the pastas and this is more easily remained constant when the quantity of water that boils in is higher.
~ In the boiling water we add the salt, roughly 10gr (a heaped teaspoon) for each litre of water.
~ Mix with a wooden spoon in order that all pastas are covered by water and they do not stick in this initial phase.
~ Long-Short Pasta:
~ Long form pastas (spaghetti, lasagne, etc) should be thrown in the saucepan all together.
~ On the contrary the short pastas (pens, shells, etc) should be thrown in a few at a time and the water should have begun already to boil.
~ Saucepan Cover:
~ Place the lid so that it covers the 2/3 of the saucepan. This way the steam comes out freely and the pasta boils in a uniform way.
~ Boiling Time:
~ Try the pasta from time to time in order to determent if the pasta has reached the point to be “al dente”.
~ Yes, even the most experienced cooks, it is essential to do this, because they do not boil standardised (as for their boiling time) industrial pastas.
~ It is essential, after 3/4 of the boiling time; these trials have to be done often.
~ The right point in any case, for the interruption of boiling is when our pasta appears to be soft on the outside while internally it is still a little hard.
~ At this point of boiling a name has been given to it which is “al dente” from Italian chefs.
~ The precise time of boiling cannot be determined as that depends from the type and the thickness of the pasta.
~ The fresh homemade pastas boil in less time than the dry industrial pasta.
~ Even with the fresh homemade pastas the time of boiling depends on how much time they have been left to dry.
~There is a remarkable difference if the pastas are boiled as soon as we prepare it or hours later.
~ Often it is not possible is determined a precise time of boiling in minutes.
~ Interruption of Boiling:
~ As soon as you realise that the pasta reached this point, interrupt the boiling.
~ This should be done in an instant way by throwing in the saucepan a big glass of cold water, so that it stops instantaneously the boiling at the desirable point.
~ Only then we turn the heat off and pull the saucepan from this, in order to immediately throw them in the strainer.
~ Strain the pastas and we advance in the next steps which are to throw them in the sauce, or sauté etc.
~ Oiling the Pasta:
~ Oil we add only in special cases such as they are pastas of big size, as lasagne or when we boil fresh homemade pastas that have just been made (they have not remained enough time in order to dry well) in order that they do not stick with each other.
~ Cold Water:
~ At the end of boiling the pastas SHOULD NOT be passed under cold water (even though it is still fresh the recollection from our mothers passing them in strainer under abundant tap water).
~It should not because they will lose the surface sticky layer of starch that is essential in order to tie up well the sauce with pasta, with the only exception for the pastas that will be served cold.
~ In the case of the pasta is to be served cold it has to be passed under cold water to remove the starch because instead of “sucking” the sauce, the pastas will stick with each other.
~ Under cold water we only pass our pastas when we are him to serve alone them, without sauces, as accompanying some dish or when is used cold in salads.
|~ Recap of the basic rules that should be followed:
~ 1: The selection of the right saucepan.
~ 2: 1 litre of water per 100gr of pasta.
~ 3: Salt, roughly 10gr (a heaped tsp) for each litre of water
~ 4: Mix with a wooden spoon and all pasta is covered by water.
~ 5: Long form pastas are thrown in the saucepan all together and short pasta, a few at a time.
~ 6: Cover with the lid so that it covers the 2/3 of the saucepan.
~ 7: The trial of the pasta.
~ 8: Interruption of boiling at the desired boiling time.
~ 9: Oiling of the pasta.
~ 10: Passing the pasta under cold water.