First of all, this post is open to more opinions!
As Pasta nowadays kind of reached a status of the easiest way to cook for yourself (fast and cheap) and this way drifts a bit in the fast food section, I thought it’s worth talking about how the Pasta-Majors think about general pasta questions!
Most important notice over all: Pasta and Pizza are no Fast Food!
Let’s go questioning some details.
1. Use a lot of salt when cooking your noodles. A whole lot of salt. Don’t measure it, just add more than you would think, after the water started boiling. I add so much, that it changes color and gets foamy for a second.
2. The oil question is a point to discuss. Some people use it, some don’t. I would say go without the oil, as in most good pasta recipes you mix your pasta in the end with sauce anyway, and as I also heard the noodles won’t take in the sauce as nicely as they do when cooked without oil (which sounds reasonable to me).
3. Italians don’t look at the packet of the pasta and set an alarm for let’s say 13 minutes. They actually let them cook quite long, what I really like ’cause I like them soft, though which is not so much the well-known “al dente” thing. If you like your noodles al dente, just stay with them and follow your feeling and check constantly on them if you think they’re done. Like this you also get to pinch a bit with a great excuse.
4. Tortellini are not served with cream sauces. In fact they are served in a very light soup, just cooked in a vegetable or chicken stock, or fancier in a Minestrone. At least that’s what I learned in the northern part of the country. Maybe I can come up with a nice and easy recipe for that soon.
5. Another thing I heard from Italians talking about food is that you shouldn’t boil Cream/Créme Fraîche, only add it to your sauce/food when the heat is low enough. That’s a point I would love to discuss, because I quite often let the cream cook in a little and never seemed to notice bad effects.
6. In Italy Pasta actually is more of a starter than the main dish. I had all different kinds of Pasta starting the heavenly feast, Carbonara, Tortellini Soup, Spaghetti with Seafood etc. Main dishes are usually nice pieces of meat or fish with supplements. So when you’re invited to eat with an Italian family, be prepared, you will need a lot of space in your stomach, and you might even feel really sick afterwards, but it’s always always totally worth it.
Yes, Italians celebrate food, and yes, they do it outstandingly WELL.
Looking forward to feedback :)