Little Secrets


Preparation In order for the pasta to be properly cooked, it should be boiled in a large pot with plenty of water. Use about 1 liter of water per 100 g pasta. Weigh up the pasta quantity according to the number of eaters. Usually, 150 g of pasta is sufficient for each person. If you don’t want the water to froth while the pasta is boiling, put a wooden ladle in the pot. Stir with a wooden ladle and not with a metallic one, as it decreases the boiling temperature. Add salt and a tablespoon of olive oil in boiling water. Salt cannot be added to pasta after it is cooked. Olive oil prevents pasta from sticking. Add the pasta only after the water comes to a boil, putting it in the centre of the pot. Keep the temperature high, so that the boiling starts over as quickly as possible. Stir the pasta as soon as you add it to the water to avoid sticking. Stir often while boiling. If you’d like a fragrant spaghetti dish, try to add an onion, two cloves of garlic and some cloves or oregano while the pasta is cooking. Let the pasta boil without covering the pot. Cooking time depends on the type and the shape of pasta, or even the quality of water. Testing to your taste is always the best way to know when pasta is ready. To make perfect spaghetti, you should follow the cooking time mentioned on the package. Overcooked pasta loose their taste and flavor and aren’t very easy to digest. Cooking time mentioned on the package is usually the maximum needed time. If you plan cooking the pasta in the oven as well, then let it cook in the pot for a shorter period. Execution One of the most important parts for a successful pasta dish is draining. It should be done quickly and immediately after the pasta is done, without previously adding cold water in the pot. Pasta should be drained without loosing the boiling temperature. If you prefer to avoid draining and want to cook pasta as it is, then you should add 3 cups of boiling water or broth per 1 cup of pasta (orzo, coralline etc.). To keep pasta from sticking, when you drain it, leave a small amount of water in the pot and toss it back in. Then, add some butter. Don’t ever rinse pasta, unless you’re making a pasta salad or you want to cook it in the oven. The starch that remains on the pasta, as long as you don’t rinse it, helps it mix better with the sauce. It is better not to pour sauté butter or oil on the pasta, because the pasta gets harder to digest. Add fresh, uncooked butter on hot and drained pasta and let it melt on its own while stirring. If you want your pasta lighter, you can skip that spoonful of butter – in any case, you shouldn’t sauté the butter. Just stir the sauce in the pasta, which either way contains a little olive oil. If you have elevated cholesterol, halve the amount of butter or swap it with corn oil. Accompaniments Except the usual Italian Parmesan, you can top spaghetti dishes with traditional Myzithra, Gruyere, Kefalotyri or Pecorino. Sauces made of onion, garlic and mushrooms are better accompanied with red wine. White wine highlights the flavor of seafood. Short pasta (penne, rigatoni, farfalle, fusilli, conchiglie) is excellent for imaginative and delicious salads. The most popular combinations are: spaghetti or macaroni with red sauce, containing meat or fish, and other kinds of pasta (rigatoni, penne, farfalle etc.) with white sauce. Serving The secret to a delicious pasta dish is to serve it right away. Pasta should always be served and eaten hot –or even steaming hot- right after cooking. If you like topping it with cheese, first add the cheese and then the sauce. Don’t leave pasta in broth or sauce if you don’t eat it right away. Anything that’s liquid gets absorbed by the pasta and the visual result is never tasteful. Add the sauce always at the end. Don’t add shredded cheese on steaming hot pasta if you don’t want it to melt. A spaghetti dish can either be light or heavy. 100 g of pasta contain only 350 calories. Any extra calories depend on the use of butter, sauce and cheese. Did you know that?

  • Pasta is the favorite food of millions of people. It’s one of the basic sustenance of the Mediterranean diet and is a primary food in the pyramid of healthy dieting.
  • Athletes eat a spaghetti dish with a simple tomato sauce with some olive oil the night before a game or race; it’s an easy-to-digest dish that allows them to sleep well, supplying them with the necessary energy.
  • The expression “al dente”, used by the Italians, the first ones who introduced pasta in their cuisine, refers to boiling. Italians prefer pasta to be hard. “Al dente” means “sticking to the tooth”. In the Greek cuisine, however, pasta is usually well-cooked. However, the al dente way of cooking is healthier. According to nutritional studies, slightly cooked pasta are easier to digest, because they require more chewing, promoting more saliva secretion, which aids digestion.