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It is the most widely known and can be found all over the world. But it is easy to go wrong with it and to end up with a soggy uninspiring mess. As with all the most basic foods the key to cooking good pasta is to choose good quality ingredients. The simpler the food the more important quality becomes. Poor quality can be less easily disguised in a simple pasta dish than in something more elaborate. Good quality pasta is made from durum wheat. Many people swear by fresh pasta rather than dried. They feel that fresh pasta must be more authentic than dried. But in Italy cooks will often choose dried pasta for preference. A good quality dried pasta made from durum what is always preferable to a poor quality fresh pasta. What you are looking for is a dried pasta made with 100 per cent durum wheat and preferably made by an Italian company according to traditional methods.
Avoid supermarket own brands and other cheaper substitutes. Only the real thing will do. If this seems too expensive then save money when it comes to the sauce. Pasta is a cheap food because it carries the sauce and makes expensive ingredients go further. You should not think of pasta as an economical food because the pasta itself is made from cheap ingredients. Some fresh pasta is excellent. If you can find shop where they make it themselves it is well worth buying. You might even like to try making it yourself. There are wonderful gadgets for rolling out sheets of pasta. But these pasta machines usually end up forgotten in the back of the cupboard. They are not really necessary. You will rarely find them in an Italian kitchen. Home made pasta can be made quite easily with a rolling pin and a knife.
Also you may want to preserve a glassful of the cooking water to add to your sauce. That water will help form a perfect marriage between the pasta and the sauce. Again never ever drain your pasta too much. If you use a good pasta brand you do not need to eliminate any excessive starch on the contrary too much rinsing takes away the superb flavour of your pasta. Remember pasta water is not "dirty water". It is important to keep a little to maintain the strand moist. In this way you also need less sauce. PASTA SECRET #6: THE SAUCE I am not going to talk about the infinite variety of sauces you can prepare for your pasta but make sure you do not "over-sauce" pasta. Use just enough to cover the strands. In any case the right kind of pasta when cooked right is a veritable delight in itself.