If you can cook pasta well you have a limitless bounty of meal time combinations. So, here is a very sweet tutorial on how to cook perfect pasta, any kind of pasta, every time.
Does it look like an onion? Does it smell like garlic? If you have anything around you that looks like what you would in common sense consider a basic vegetable chop it up and put it in a pan with some garlic oil. These should cook down until they’re translucent.
If you’re big into bacon or prosciutto that should go in with the oil so the fat can do its thang.
Standard rule with vegetables: Hardy things like onions, broccoli, carrots - These will take a while so put them in sooner rather than later. The closer we progress to a softie like a tomato or anything that resembles a leaf (spinach, arugula) the further down the time line we should add it to the pan. So squeeze it and make a judgement call.
“A pan? We’re cooking pasta, surely I will need a pot.”
That’s a good idea, I knew we were friends for a reason.
Pasta Second: Now fill up an appropriate sized pot with some salted water. Bring to boil and put a portion of pasta in.
My trick for spaghetti; you don’t need a tall pot, and you don’t need to snap them. Stick the bundle in standing up, wait twenty seconds and coil it down around the rim of the pot. Don’t be afraid of boiling water. 1) It really doesn’t hurt that bad. 2) The closer you drop any type of anything into boiling water, the better. The softer the landing, the less splatter, so don’t be a puss.
Is There a Time and Place for Wine?
Yes. A thousand times yes. Now ideally I would love to cook with only wine I drink, and if I’m drinking wine then a little dash of whatever usually finds it way in. But there’s a time and place…
Wine and Sauce: A love affair
So I’m not going to tell you what to do because I believe in experimenting. That’s right gentlemen and ladies.
This is how my brain works: white rhymes with light so a splash of my drinking wine will go fine in my onions, well be having funyons, oh yeah.
The darker the wine, for the most part, go better with a stewing dish with longer time. (Another lesson for another day.)
Afraid of fucking up? Broke? Not a wine drinker? Meet your new best friend.
Pretty ubiquitous, goes on a sliding scale from dirty cheap to pricey so you can choose. Comes in big bottles. We likey.
Once your veggies look like they’re on their way dash the wine and season. Turn up the heat and toss or stir until you’re confident the alcohol has burned away.
The Big Finish
If your vegetables are done now it’s time to add the sauce medium. Whatever you like, pesto, tomato paste, tomato sauce from a jar, or if you want to keep it really simple a bit more olive oil. You only need a little bit, the meal is called pasta not sauce.
Whatever it is put a spoonful or more (depending on how much sauce you have) of that starchy water into the sauce. This will take a sauce from runny to smooth.
Lastly, whatever the pasta is, add it to the pan. Not the sauce to the pot. Then TOSS THAT BAD BOY.
That’s right I said toss. If you need to practice over the sink, no one’s going to judge you. Give the mixture a light but firm flip, edging the mass to the top of the pan, opposite the handle, tossing it back towards you in a repetitive motion. Why? 1) You look like a total badass. 2) The aeration actually does a lot. Trust me, it melds the whole meal.