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October
2014
01

10 Easy Steps To Cook Pasta To Perfection

With more than 600 known pasta shapes it is no wonder pasta is one of the world's most famous foods. October is National Pasta Month and Chef Carmelo Mauro, chef and owner of Carmelo's Ristorante Italiano in Houston and Austin, wants to give pasta its due.

The Origins of Pasta

Pasta is the Italian word for dough, and it was introduced to America after Thomas Jefferson tasted it in Naples, Italy. Having served as Ambassador to Paris, in 1789, Jefferson brought the first pasta machine and crates of macaroni to America. Pasta later became a staple in American cuisine in the late 19th century during the Italian immigration to the United States.

National Pasta Month | Carmelo's Italian Restaurant

According to a Zagat survey, half of Americans eat past two times each week, with one quarter of the population eating it three to four times per week. The average American eats 20 pounds of pasta each year. And while pasta has been wrongly touted as unhealthy by low carb fad diets, it actually has a lower glycemic index (GI) of 25-45 than bread whose GI is 75 and potatoes with a GI of 80. Pasta is healthy for you.

10 Easy step to Cook Pasta To Perfection

Carmelo's restaurants serve nearly 10,000 pounds of pasta each year. But for families wishing to make the perfect pasta at home, Chef Carmelo Mauro suggests following 10 easy steps:

  1. Use a large pot so the pasta can expand while cooking. Fill with 4 to 5 quarts of water for every 1 pound of pasta.
  2. Always start with cold water to ensure you boil out any impurities.
  3. Heavily salt the water just as the water begins to boil adding 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water.
  4. Never add oil to your pasta cooking water. Oil keeps sauce from sticking to the pasta.
  5. Bring water to full boil before adding pasta. Remove lid once you add pasta to boiling water and the rolling boil begins again.
  6. Stir often so the pasta cooks evenly.
  7. Check pasta consistency often during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Cook to al dente, which means "to the bite." Al dente pasta is healthier as it absorbs slower during digestion. If adding pasta to a sauce, remove it 3 minutes
  8. prior to cooking instructions and then let it cook to al dente in the sauce.
  9. Save some of the pasta water to add to your sauce to thicken it and add flavor. Never rinse cooked pasta. You need the starch on the pasta to help the sauce adhere and elevate the flavor.
  10. Serve with a sauce or olive oil for the perfect entrée or side dish.

"We serve a different homemade pastas each day with angel hair, fettuccine and lasagna as guest favorites," said Carmelo Mauro. "I personally eat upwards of 150 pounds of pasta each year. Pasta was a staple in my home growing up in Taormina, Sicily, and I can never get enough of it."

See you at Carmelo's This Month!

In honor of National Pasta Month, Carmelo's has crafted five special pasta dishes to be served throughout October. Each pasta features different shapes, sizes, ingredients and traditions to showcase the best from northern to southern Italy -- as an entrée or starter. See menu and wine pairings »

 

 

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