Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
We were in Atlanta in January for the Gift Show (finding new potential Cool Tools to bring to you), when we had a pasta “Ah ha!” moment. We were at Brezza Cucina and enjoyed one of the best Spaghetti all'Amatriciana that we’ve ever had. For those who don’t know (and we didn’t) Amatriciana sauce is considered a part of Roman cuisine and consists of guanciale (an Italian cured meat), olive oil, onions (in this case), a little bit of tomato and pecorino cheese. It doesn’t sound like much, but when it’s made well, it’s the stuff of dreams!
What was incredible about this particular version was that every strand of pasta tasted of the sauce. That’s rare. Even with a thicker sauce, you’re often fighting to get pasta and sauce in every bite. We were so impressed with this that we asked our waiter how it was achieved. And, to our delight, he took it upon himself to ask the chef for us. Then he came back with the secret...and now we’re sharing it with you… in 3 simple steps.
First, undercook the pasta by about a minute or two and remove it from the pasta water. But DON’T THROW AWAY THE PASTA WATER!
This is the second - and essential - part of the tip: take about 1 tablespoon per person of the pasta water and stir it into the sauce; the starch in the water acts as a binder and makes your sauce creamier and more clingy. And the bonus is that the more starch in your water (i.e. the less water you use to cook your pasta), the better job the water does at binding the sauce. Check out our new Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cooker: it uses very little water to cook the pasta, thereby not only saving you time (you don’t have to boil the water first) and water, but also giving you the bonus of great starchy pasta water for your sauce!
Finally, the third step is to finish cooking your pasta in the sauce. This not only aids absorption of the sauce into the pasta, but gives you a longer window for finishing your pasta, so you have time to make your salad, open the wine, or set the table or….