Noodles are kindred to Asia, while pasta to Italy. The same general formula is used for making both, which involves egg mixed with starch and flour, or both, and water, and they are equally delicious. Whether you are making a plate of Korean jap chae, or spaghetti and meatballs, there is a huge variety of noodles and pasta that can be made. However, there are some pitfalls that can prevent you from making the wonderful dish you want. Here, Ido Fishman sheds light on some of the common ones that you can avoid when making noodles or pasta:
- Adding olive oil to the pot of water
Since olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, many assume that the more you add, the better it is. But, the primary mistake that people make is adding olive oil to the boiling pot of water. Experts like Ido Fishman can tell you that the oil will remain on the surface this way and it will not be absorbed by the pasta. Rather than wasting your olive oil, you should use it instead for finishing dishes like spicy spaghetti with garlic or fennel seed pasta.
- Not salting the water
There is a lot of contention relating to whether or not the pasta water should be salted. Since pasta is the vehicle of flavor, you should definitely salt your water and shouldn’t be shy about it at all. The water should have a briny, sea-like taste. When you add salt to the water, Ido Fishman says that the pasta will absorb it while it is cooking. This will provide you with a seasoned flavor that can boost your dish from good to great. As far as the type of salt is concerned, it is best to opt for one that has minimum additives. Don’t go with iodized salt because it will lead to a bitter and an unnaturally salty taste.
- Breaking your noodles or pasta
Sure, when you break down your pasta, it becomes easier to fit it in the pot. But, it will zap the characteristic power of the pasta that lies in its shape. Rather than breaking it, you should just put it in the pot and wait for the ends to become soft. Then you can nestle it into the water. Long pastas like linguine, fettucine and spaghetti are best for smoother, lighter sauces, so their shape isn’t a mistake. Not only will it taste better, but Chef Ido Fishman says that plating it will also be easier. A long and intact pasta can be formed into the same majestic swirls that you get in fine-dining restaurants.
- Using the wrong pot
A pasta clustered together in a pot is a mistake you want to avoid. If you have a small post, Ido Fishman suggests that you either cook less pasta, or buy a larger pot. You should consider how much water will be needed and the room required by those pasta tubes, strands, shells or more. Where water is concerned, you should use 4 to 6 quarts for every pound of pasta you use. Your pasta needs to have enough room for expanding, while it dances freely in the boiling water.
- Not thinking of the pasta shape
Over the centuries, both Italian pasta and Asian noodles have taken on different shapes. As a matter of fact, there are more than 200 shapes of pasta. These shapes have even more categories, depending on their use. The thinner and longer the pasta, the better they can pair with delicate and smooth sauces.Fusilli and rigatoni are stouter pastas and these work well with thicker sauces. As for the smallest pasta shapes, including ditalini and orzo, they are best used in soups.
These are some of the blunders that Ido Fishman has highlighted and avoiding them ensures that you can make delicious noodles and pasta when you want.