SOURCE: Dave's Gourmet

Dave's Gourmet

June 30, 2011 12:18 ET

How to Make the Perfect Bowl of Pasta

Sauce Expert Reveals Tricks of the Pasta Trade

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 30, 2011) - Pasta is one of the staples of the American diet, but it need not taste like a staple.

"It is so much more than just grabbing a jar of generic sauce at the store, boiling some water and mixing it all up in a bowl," said Dave Hirschkop, the namesake of the Dave's Gourmet ( line of sauces and veteran pasta and sauce aficionado. "There are subtle secrets in every step of the process, from choosing the sauce, boiling the water, and plating the finished meal that can take an everyday dull meal and turn it into a gourmet dining experience."

His pasta-making tips include:

  • Choosing the Pasta -- Choose a pasta that receives the sauce and spices well. Thinner more delicate shapes should pair with lighter thinner sauces. Pick pasta made from durum wheat. A slightly rougher pasta or shaped pasta holds the sauce better.

  • Choosing the Sauce -- Good marinara is made primarily from tomatoes, not tomato paste. If your sauce ingredients list paste, water or sugar as the first ingredient, then you should pass. Some sauces make a better base so don't be afraid to doctor it with meat, cheese, or fresh veggies.

  • Boiling the Pasta -- Use plenty of water, add salt to it, and never put dry pasta in the water until it has reached a rolling boil. Stir occasionally and, once the pasta nears the minimum cooking time on the package start tasting it. Take the pasta out when it is al dente or a little firm. The pasta will continue to cook a little after you take it out. For more flavor, take the pasta out of the water a few minutes early and let it finish cooking in the sauce.

  • Plating the Pasta -- When you strain the pasta, do not run water over the pasta unless you are making a cold pasta salad. Strain it well, and place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of your serving bowl before putting in the pasta. Ladle generous amounts of sauce into the bowl, and toss the pasta so the sauce is evenly distributed.

About Dave Hirschkop

Dave Hirschkop is the founder of Dave's Gourmet, a maker of more than 70 award-winning gourmet food products.

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