When pasta is on the dinner menu, many of us dump some boxed noodles into boiling water and call it a day, but in Italy, pasta is an art form. You can tell many Americans admire that way of thinking, as over 49 million people visited an Italian restaurant in the last 30 days in the United States. We talked to Francesco Ricapito, a Venice, Italy, native and lifetime pasta lover, and his parents shared why they believe pasta is a work of art. “It’s like a symphony of different tastes,” Marina Ricapito said. “You can make endless combinations.” Her husband, Daniele, added, “It makes everybody agree with everybody else.” Francesco shared three things he thinks people should always remember when making pasta.
Always use fresh ingredients.
In most cities in Italy, fresh ingredients aren’t hard to come by and are the norm for any type of dish. “A general rule for Italian food: Most of the recipes are not complicated to prepare, and almost everybody can obtain good results,” Ricapito said. “What’s important are the ingredients. The reason why we have good food is [that] we use fresh ingredients – nothing else.” He maintains that even the olive oil used to cook should be of good quality for best results.
Always salt the water before adding the noodles.
Taking the time to follow this step will enhance the flavor of the pasta. Seasoning it internally is a must. And if you need help learning how to make popular tagliatelle noodles at home, check out this video (it’s in Italian, but the visuals are essentially self-explanatory).
When the pasta is almost done, add a couple of spoons of the pot’s water to the sauce and heat it for a couple of minutes.
This will blend the flavors together and help thicken the sauce. According to the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, or Italian Academy of Cuisine, Bolognese sauce should be made with fresh beef, bacon, carrots, celery, onions, tomato sauce, white wine, whole milk, broth, olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. In true Italian fashion, Ricapito also strongly suggests putting Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the table so guests can have the option of adding it to their pasta.