Pasta cooking: the methods you (maybe) don’t know

Pasta cooking: the methods you (maybe) don’t know

When it comes to cooking pasta, very often we refer to a large pot of boiling water in which we “throw” the pasta as soon as it reaches a boil. Not everyone knows that there are many cooking methods for pasta, often very different from what we are used to. We have gathered them in a video from the Italia Squisita channel, explained in detail by Italian Chef Luciano Monosilio. Here they are.

Express pasta

This is the most popular cooking method, wonderfully taught and passed down in Italian families’ homes. It is characteristic of al dente pasta, where the cooking in boiling water involves occasional stirring following the indicated times, draining the pasta just one minute before, and completing the cooking in the pan with the sauce. A classic gourmet approach.

Risotto-style pasta

It is named after risotto because the pasta is cooked in a similar way. Unlike risotto, however, the first part of pasta rehydration happens in boiling water, just like regular express pasta. However, it is taken out of the water and poured into the pan along with the sauce while it is still significantly undercooked.

The cooking of “risotto-style” pasta involves gradually adding liquid and constantly stirring to allow the starches released from the pasta’s boiling water to create the so-called creaminess. The result is a well-blended and flavorful dish.

One-pot pasta

This method may seem a bit American, but let yourself be intrigued by the novelty: one pan and a single cooking process. One-pot pasta is an easy and quick recipe that combines all the ingredients in one container, resulting in a creamy, rich, and tasty pasta.

For 350g of pasta, you will need approximately 240ml of room temperature water. Then, you can add everything else to these basic quantities. If the water is not sufficient to cook all the sauce, add a little more. In general, if the sauce is vegetable-based, leave the initial amount of water as vegetables tend to release moisture. The only downside of one-pot dishes is that they are not easy to prepare when you have many people at the table.

Pressure cooker pasta

Cooking times are halved compared to the times written on the packaging, a real-time and gas-saving convenience. In a pressure cooker, one minute is equivalent to at least twice that in traditional cooking, and other factors come into play, such as the amount of water, sauce, or pasta shape.

If the correct proportion for cooking pasta traditionally is 1 liter of water for every 100g of pasta, in a pressure cooker, use approximately 0.3 liters of water for every 100g of pasta. Avoid using oil, or if you must, use only a small amount, and reduce the salt to about 3-5g per every 100g of pasta.

Fireless pasta

Also known as passive cooking, this method has become very popular since the gas bill has significantly increased in the last year. This method avoids starch and gluten dispersion and involves throwing the pasta into boiling water, boiling it for a few minutes (2-4 at most), turning off the heat, covering the pot, and leaving the pasta in the water for the time indicated on the packaging.

On the contrary, infusion cooking aims to convert starch into a digestible form, summarizing the cooking process into three phases: water absorption, starch swelling, and gelatinization at a temperature of 70-75°C.