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Therefore - no need to add oil. 3. Not adding salt to the water Because we are constantly warned about the perils of salt in our diet many cooks will add only a tiny pinch of salt or none at all to the cooking water. This is a mistake. Pasta needs plenty of salt because salt "roughs up" the surface and keeps it from becoming slimy. Add about a teaspoon of salt per each gallon of water. This seems like a lot but every good Italian chef cooks it this way and it really does make a difference. And here s the good news: The pasta does not absorb salt in the same way that vegetables or potatoes do so you will not be eating all the salt that you use in the cooking water. The exception to the add plenty of salt rule is when cooking fresh pasta which does not need salted water.
There are all manner of pasta and range in price from one dollar a pound on up to $10 a pound or more for hand-made pasta. Before we go too crazy here and make your mind spin with all the pastas available let s just get down to basics and explain the differences between the most commonly used pastas how they are normally used and the types of sauces that go well with them. We will start out with the flat pastas which include lasagna linguini fettuccini and papparadelle. Dried Lasagna noodles are usually about 2-3" wide and can be purchased in boxes either uncooked or precooked. Domestic lasagna noodles are longer than the imported ones; however most of the imported ones are of a better quality. You can usually also purchase fresh pasta which can be used for lasagna from your local Italian deli. Lasagna may either be served simply with a Bolognese (meat) sauce with shredded parmesan or more traditionally as a layered casserole.
In order to flavor the twisted pastas for salads it is good to toss the pasta with the dressing just after draining. If you do this while the pasta is still warm they will absorb the flavor of the dressing and taste better. In addition to the twisted pastas there are shells which come in several sizes. The larger of the shells are great for stuffing with cheese or meat. They then can be served with marinara Bolognese or seafood sauce. The stuffed shells can also be arranged in a casserole covered with sauce and some mozzarella cheese and then baked. This type of dish is also great to make ahead freeze and the cook when needed. To cook a frozen pasta casserole place the whole thing while still frozen in a cold oven. Once the casserole is in the oven you can then turn the oven on to 350 degrees and let it cook.