Things happen fast and first we had a New Year and then the realization that January 4th is here and it is National Spaghetti Day again! Where did time go?
It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in my dining room with the aroma of our family's secret spaghetti sauce otherwise known as UGAR, a basket of garlic bread and some delicious vino.
According to the International Pasta Organisation (actual spelling), spaghetti is the most known and loved pasta format in the world!
The IPO has some further guidance for your pasta with the 4 Rules to Pairing your Pasta:
- LOOK AT THE FORMAT – In what way does the shape of the pasta meet its condiment? The coils in Fusilli and the grooves in Penne capture the sauce, while Spaghetti wraps around it, and Lumachina (snail pasta) embraces it, etc. Even the smallest element changes everything: the pasta’s curvature, a variation in the depth of its grooves, a particular spice in the sauce, cooking times and methods (classic, in a pan, Risotto-style, rehydrated), even the way it is served or what we use to eat it: fork or spoon? There are full-bodied sauces and smoother sauces. And versatile pastas, capable of enhancing a variety of sauces with different consistencies, while some formats are “designed specifically” to give their very best when combined with a particular condiment.
- THE WIRE DRAWING, A MATTER OF TEXTURE – This gives us an idea of how the pasta will behave during cooking (and when combined with sauce) but also its sensation in the mouth. A Teflon die produces a pasta with a crunchier centre, while a bronze-drawn pasta is more homogeneous. What’s more, a porous or ribbed surface better captures runnier sauces, while a smoother texture is perfect with more “enveloping” sauces.
- THE FORK (OR SPOON) TEST TO DETERMINE THE INTENSITY OF THE BITE – The first step is tasting the pasta and the sauce, whose intensity must be directly proportional to that of the pasta, individually. Bucatini or Paccheri should be chewier than smaller pasta formats. Similarly, a robust sauce like Carbonara is not suitable for delicate Capelli d’angelo (angel hair) pasta, while Tagliatelle has no place with the light and ethereal consistency of a simple garlic, olive oil and chilli sauce. Small formats such as Pennette or Ditalini also fit comfortably in a spoon, etc.
- THE RIGHT COOKING TECHNIQUE TO MAKE THE MEETING PERFECT – If all the conditions for a romance between the pasta and its sauce are in place, the cook simply helps make the two… inseparable. Italian pasta makers provide all the necessary indications on how to best cook a type of pasta on its packaging and on the company websites: For example, tossing it in a pan with a spoonful of cooking water or a drizzle of olive oil for a creamy consistency. Or by choosing the most suitable cooking method, such as Risotto-style to bind runnier sauces to smoother pasta formats (for example Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli), the pan-finish technique for Linguine with clams to generate a creamy texture along the “wings”, the thinner edges of the pasta, etc.
You can learn more about their organization and see great recipes HERE.