I had the pleasure of attending a Lunch N Learn at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs recently and the Executive Chef from the Beau Rivage, Chef Kristian Wade, a Pascagoula native, prepared a great Bolognese sauce with pasta.
The sauce was great, but he passed on a handful of good pasta cooking tips that I want to hand off to you. Use these suggestions and your pasta dishes are going to be much better.
-- Use a artisan made pasta or one imported from Italy. If you think they are all the same, a side-by-side comparison is in order. The difference in quality is amazing.
-- We almost always overcook pasta. It should be al dente, or to the tooth, as the Italians say. That means that the pasta should have texture, and not be too soft or mushy. The correct result is firm, not hard. Practice makes perfect.
-- When you remove the pasta from the boiling water, place it on a sheet pan to coo; never, never rinse it off. Add a little olive oil if you like.
-- The final step in cooking pasta is to add it to the sauce it will be served with and simmer for just a minute or two to finish. The pasta takes on some of the flavor from the sauce.
-- Lastly, it is about the pasta, not the sauce. It Is not soup. The pasta should be lightly coated in sauce, no more. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheeses, and you will have a meal without comparison.