October 27, 2022
October is national pasta month but in my mind who needs a month to celebrate this universally beloved food? Pasta is on dinner tables somewhere every night of the week. And while it is being honored this month, maybe now is a good time to unravel some of the un-truths about pasta.
1) Italians did not invent pasta; they just perfected it and made it the national dish of Italy. There are over 350 varieites of dried pasta manufactured today and hundreds more fresh pastas unique to the regions of Italy
2) A pound of pasta serves 8 not two; those platter sizes dished out in restaurants are not what you would get if you were in Italy; more like a cup of cooked pasta, and hardly enough to pack on the pounds like a platterfull can.
3) The Italian food pyramid recommends pasta, grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits as the main cornerstone of the Italian diet. So the pasta police have no business telling you that eating a moderate portion of pasta will lead to no good. As Sophia Loren once remarked as to how she maintained such a gorgeous physic and I quote: “everything you see I owe to pasta.”
4) Al dente does not mean well done, mushy pasta, rather it means cooked but still firm and retaining its original shape
5) Two huge no no’s when cooking pasta; never add oil to the cooking water and never rinse pasta after it is cooked. Oil will make the past slick and no sauce will clink to it; 4 to 6 quarts of water is needed to cook a pound; use enough water and pasta never will stick.
Rinsing pasta removes the natural starch needed to help the sauce cling to it.
For more on Pasta, see Mary Ann’s book Mangia Pasta!