A Guide To Rich And Hearty Spaghetti Dishes
Though Italy has a rich culinary tradition, there is one dish that seems to represent most of its contributions in one place: spaghetti. It’s something of an apt choice, especially given that spaghetti represents the fundamentals of Italian cooking, namely hearty sauces and and nutritious pasta. And like so many other Italian meals, spaghetti cooking is a true art form, one that involves a bit of heart and an invaluable set of knowledge and skills.
Want to perfect your approach to spaghetti while you’re still enrolled in culinary academy? Use the following tips and tricks the next time you’re cooking up pasta:
Salt is your best friend
As you begin boiling the pasta, be sure to add plenty of salt to the water. This mineral component is a natural and relatively healthy way to season the actual noodles. However, you want to avoid adding in any oil to the water or to the pasta, as this will leave you with especially greasy noodles. No matter what special ingredient you opt for, always wait until the water has begun boiling to add the pasta. That is, unless you were hoping to serve your friends and family some soggy bowls of pasta.
More pasta considerations
As a rule, you want to never add two different kinds of pasta into the same boiling pot. Not only do they have different cooking times, but even similar brands of pasta can have decidedly different tastes, levels of calories and fat and, of course, varying quality. The two pastas may also have unique levels of starch, an especially important component in how well the pasta absorbs flavors. To further protect starch levels, never wash your pasta after its cooked. This step will only further remove the pasta’s vital starch. The only time cold water water should ever be used is to rinse the pasta before the cooking ever begins.
Though some chefs opt for simpler dishes, meatballs add a new flavor experience to your pasta. Most chefs will make meatballs out of Italian sausage, pork, beef or veal. However, as Epicurious noted, the best meatballs are actually a combination of all four options. That’s probably because you’re not only getting a mix of flavors but also consistencies, which makes a noticeable difference in the final meatball. Part of that consistency is also what you use as breading. A few choices include store-bought breadcrumbs, panko – Japanese breadcrumbs – or day-old bread.
Spice up your sauce
Perhaps just as much as the pasta and the meatballs, the sauce can make or break your spaghetti. While a basic tomato sauce will always do, you should also consider adding additional flavors, according to The Kitchn. For instance, heavy cream or whole milk will make for a heartier and more creamy sauce. Meanwhile, ingredients like butter, olive oil, and red or white wine are easy choices to enhance the sauce’s natural flavor. Fresh herbs like oregano and basil are another way to make your sauce aromatic and thus more appealing to your senses. Finally, cheese pairs well with most pasta sauces – some popular options include parmesan, mascarpone, ricotta and creme fraiche.