Cook N Home
What’s the best way of draining pasta? Some use pots with strainers while others swear that you could just use a normal pot and scoop them out with a spider. Either way, the word “best” is subjective. Should you really get a dedicated pasta pot with a strainer? I’ve seen people use a normal pot lid and leave a tiny gap and it works just fine. With practice, you’ll master this technique and will no longer dump pasta onto the sink. There are great pasta pots with strainers and perhaps the biggest shopping consideration you’ll be looking at is the pot’s size. Regular pots work well but these best pasta pots with strainers we’ll be looking at will certainly outlive their usefulness.
Faberware 8 qt stainless steel – the best pasta pot with strainer
Aluminum is arguably the most efficient cookware material in terms of heat conduction. However, it’s easily discolored and isn’t durable, perhaps due to its light nature. In this pot, an aluminium layer is sandwiched by two stainless steel ones making it sturdy and durable. This manufacturing technique is known as cladding. The stainless steel exterior is polished ensuring that the pasta gum is easy to clean off even without a dishwasher. The aluminium layer at the core of this pot facilitates for even heat distribution to the pasta you’re making ensuring that there will be no hot spots or uncooked parts.
Unlike most pasta pots designed to be used with a separate strainer, this unit comes with a colander lid with differently-sized holes so that you can strain the pasta straight from the pot. The two riveted handles have a comfortable feel to them and its rather impressive that they stay cool even when cooking on high heat.
Cook n Home 8 quart
In this multipot set from a California-based manufacturer, you get a stockpot, a vegetable steamer, a pasta strainer and tempered glass lid that lets you see how well your pasta is boiling without letting the steam out. All pieces are made from stainless steel celebrated for its durability. Stainless steel is no match for aluminum’s fast heat conduction and retention and that’s why it sandwiches and aluminum core. This aluminum disc however, is only at the base and doesn’t extend to the handles.
The 8-quart pot is large enough to make pasta for 10 without batching. The steamer and pasts strainer insert certainly make cleaning this set easy. The deep steamer is fairly large and will steam a generous amount of vegetables. Even though you could make hard boiled eggs, pasta and spaghetti with this pot, you have to be careful as boiling water tends to foam and get to the pot’s top or strainer. This is mitigated by reducing the stove’s heat or by opening the lid to let the steam out.
This dishwasher safe pot can be used an almost all types of stoves – ceramic, electric and even halogen ones as it has a flat bottom for even heat distribution. It’s not oven safe however. This isn’t a deal breaker though as I’m yet to come across a pasta recipe that requires the pasta to be finished off in the oven.
Cuisinart pasta steamer set.
All pieces in this set are made from stainless steel and this is certainly a good thing as it never degrades over time. With an elegant champagne coating or shiny stainless steel exterior choice, this set will certainly refresh your kitchen. This 12 quart pot will make enough pasta for 25 – seriously. In this set you’ll get an airtight lid, a vegetable steamer and a spaghetti strainer. This unit is dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit too.
Colander or pasta insert?
How do I strain pasta without losing it to the sink and without a strainer? You’ll need to be patient and leave space that’s large enough for the water to flow through and small enough not to let the out. Give it time as its impossible to drain a whole pot in under 30 seconds. You could buy a strainer too. Just ensure that you don’t get a plastic one as it may get burnt by the hot pasta water.
TIP: If you leave more than a few drops of water after straining pasta, it will turn soggy and lose flavor.
Pasta is a traditional Italian dish. Nowadays it is popular in every world corner. It is simple and fast to prepare and cook, but the main advantage of pasta is that it has many variations. Pasta has no hard rules and you could create original recipes every day. Often you don’t need special products, but just can use the one you have in your kitchen and fridge! What’s more, if you don’t have pasta, you could always use macaroni or even noodles instead
Kitchen Tools That You Need to Prepare Homemade Pasta
To prepare delicious homemade pasta you will need to have the right tools in your kitchen. The following list of kitchen utensils will help you prepare your pasta easier and faster.
Pasta Machine or Pasta Rolling Machine
Having a pasta machine in your kitchen is crucial for preparing homemade pasta because it is used to roll the dough that you’ve made into sheets of pasta. There are two types of pasta machines. The traditional pasta machine is hand-cranked and it is used to roll out the dough, stretch it and after that cut it. The second type of machine is a motor-driven pasta machine which you can use when you want to prepare your pasta faster. Don’t forget that you can roll the pasta by your hands! It is the cheapest method, but the most time-consuming!
When the pasta dough is ready it is important to have a noodle cutter to cut your pasta into strips.
The food scale is the main tool in your kitchen when you want to prepare homemade pasta. It is very important because you can use it to measure any solid or liquid food, and it will always provide you with the same amount of food that you need to prepare homemade pasta.
Having a food processor is very important in preparing homemade pasta because it will help you to process and pulse the ingredients.
Electric Hand Mixer
Using an electric hand mixer will save your time, energy and arms, especially when you are preparing pasta recipes where you need to combine various ingredients such as eggs, egg yolks, cream, cheese or spices.
Knife Sharpening Stone
When preparing pasta you often need to cut or chop some ingredients into small pieces. You will also need it to cut the pasta into strips. In this case, having a sharp blade in your kitchen will save you a lot of time and frustrations because you will finish cutting up your ingredients much faster than you would if using a dull knife.
Having a mixing bowl is crucial for preparing homemade pasta because you will combine all the ingredients there.
Fork or dough whisk
When preparing the pasta at home you will need to knead, mix or mash the ingredients, so it is very important to have such tools in your kitchen that will help you to do that.
Dishtowel and baking sheet
Dishtowel and baking sheet are important when we need to knead the dough or leave and close with the towel.
How to Prepare Fresh Homemade Pasta
Fresh homemade is not just food! It has become a way of life both in Italy and in the rest of the world. It has been passed from one generation to another in people’s families, it is a moment of happiness and celebration with friends and family. The fresh pasta is an Italian tradition that has been there for decades.
Making fresh pasta takes patience, attention and time; to get that pasta with pleasant roughness, right consistency and cooking it right.
Macaroni, orecchiette, ravioli, lasagna or tagliatelle are way much tastier when homemade. They are also easy to prepare. You just need some few ingredients that are also easily available at the stores.
The exact place of origin of pasta is not known because there have been many places that have been alleged to be the origin of pasta. There is an assumption that the pasta discovery was a slow process. From a mix of water and crushed wheat to the discovery of bread and pasta. The fresh pasta originated from the Mediterranean and Asia.
The making of fresh homemade pasta in Italy varies from South to North. In Southern and Central Italy, the dough is prepared using water and durum wheat semolina which has been re-milled; trofie, bucatini, cavatelli, orecchiette, macaroni are examples. In the northern part, the homemade pasta is usually soft and made with eggs and flour. Stuffed pasta, pici, bigoli, cannelloni, garganelli and lasagna are examples.
Any dough type chosen makes a variety of shapes. As soon as you have rolled your pasta out and cut it into shape of choice, you can cook right away.
Add some extra virgin olive oil to the water when cooking to ensure that the fresh pasta does not stick as you cook. It is also advisable not to use a colander when draining, but instead use a perforated ladle. The final result can be spoiled by colander.
There are several sauces with which you can serve the pasta. They include meat, Mediterranean dressing vegetables, fish and many more.
How to prepare the dough for fresh homemade pasta?
Traditionally, the dough that has been used to make egg pasta. The ingredients quantities vary depending on the pasta type you want to prepare. With the recipe below, you are going to know how to make egg dough that is perfect:
- 4 eggs
- 400g flour 00
- Start by pouring the flour on a pastry board and form a well at the middle. Add salt and break in the egg into the well.
- Use a fork and start incorporating the mixture starting from the edges nearby until it starts to be clumpy.
- Switch to using your fingers and ensure that you have incorporated all the flour into the eggs.
- When the dough starts becoming consistent, use your hands, pulling it in all directions back and forth. Lift it off the pastry board and scrape off any bits of dough stuck on the sides using a spatula and knead it.
- After vigorously kneading for about 10 minutes, form a ball and use a plastic wrap to cover it. Leave about 30 minutes to rest the dough.
- Cut a small piece of the dough and use your hands to flatten it into a disk. Dust the work surface with flour and place the disc on top. Use a rolling pin, moving it in every direction, to make it into the thickness you desire.
If you have a pasta machine, pass the disk on the rolls. Fold it into 2 layers and pass it through the rollers to thin it. You can repeat the process in order to get regular shape and the thickness you desire.
- To form tagliolini and tagliatelle or other classic cuts, roll the sheet from the edges.
- Cut the dough using a sharp knife into 3mm thick strips for the tagliolini and 1cm thick strips for the tagliatelle. You can alternatively use a machine and cut the dough into the format you want.
- Your pasta is now ready and you cook immediately if you desire or store.
- To make water and flour pasta, you use the same procedure as the one above; however, in the well at the middle of the flour, add lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. The water: flour ratio should be 1:2. Using durum wheat semolina other than flour results to a cook-resistant pasta. You can get pastas like trofie, bucatini, cavatelli, corzetti, orecchiette etc. using this dough type. All these have a sustained thickness and should not be left so much al dente when you cook them.
- To make the green pasta, you use the same preparation steps for egg and flour pasta dough. What you need to pay attention to most is the ingredients doses: decrease the water and egg quantity as vegetables have water in them; furthermore, it is advisable using very few egg yolks to ensure the green color is retained by the pasta.
How to Serve the Perfect Pasta
The extraordinary thing about pasta is that it can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. Majority of pasta dishes are always finished off with an extra helping of cheese and fresh herbs.
How Much Pasta?
A simple guideline is this, 2½ to 4 oz. dried pasta per person or 4 to 5 oz. fresh pasta, this depends on what course you wish to serve the pasta as, and of course how much your family and loved ones eat. There are always those that plan for a second helping and leftover pasta will never go to waste in any household.
It is always a good idea when undertaking to cook a meal to be prepared regarding the ingredients, recipe and the tools needed to get the job done and food on the table.
The right pot is most important. To cook 1 pound of pasta the ideal size pot should be able to hold 1.3 gallons of water. This ensures that the pasta has a chance to move around as the water boils. Always choose a pot that has a handle on either side so that you can drain the ingredients without burning yourself.
A colander is second on the list of must-haves when cooking pasta and so is a long wooden spoon.
Depending on the size of your saucepan the sauce will take either longer or shorter to cook. The larger the surface area, the faster the dish will cook.
Consider a heavy-based saucepan when the sauce needs to cook for a longer period of time, this helps to stop the ingredients from burning to the bottom of the pot.
Boiling your Pasta
Cooking pasta is relatively easily and can be done as follows:
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Never place the lid on the pot unless the recipe calls for it.
- Once boiling add salt and give it a minute to dissolve properly in the water. Consider using a coarser grained salt for better flavor.
- If you are cooking 1 pound of pasta, a 1½ tablespoon of salt will do.
- Next you add in your pasta, add all the pasta in at once for even cooking time.
- Give it a good stir, if you do this immediately you will not need to add olive oil into the pot as to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Stir occasionally.
- Taste and keep tasting until your desired texture is reached. Pasta is considered cooked when tender but still has a soft bite to it.
- If it is uncooked pasta will taste chalky and if overdone it will become soggy.
It is best to enjoy the pasta once cooked but if you plan to use it later on it is suggested that you toss it with a splash of olive oil to keep the pieces from sticking to one another.
Draining your Pasta
Before draining always keep a cup of boiled pasta water aside in case you need to add it to sauces which you feel are a bit dry.
When the pasta is cooked, it is important to drain it immediately into a colander.
Short pastas can drain more as they have areas where water can get caught up in. Long strand pasta does not need to be drained as thoroughly.
Serving your Pasta
Place your pasta as quickly as you can into the sauce and heat up if needed. An extra tip is to pour the sauced pasta over into an oven-heated serving dish.
Use 2 large forks or a fork and spoon to thoroughly toss your pasta so that the sauce can evenly coat the pasta. Do not drown the pasta in the sauce either, the sauce and pasta should complement each other and not overpower one another.
Serve into heated bowls for an extra touch and do not forget to add a dash of fresh herbs and grated parmesan!
Italian Kitchen Must-Haves
The beauty of these ingredients is that they are fresh, easy to source and can be used to make a simple meal, sauce or a family-worthy feast!
When it comes to Italian food these items are often on the list when thinking about this delicious cuisine.
Pasta is one of the most predominant ingredients that feature in Italian cooking. It won’t be an authentic Italian pantry if it does not contain this staple. Past comes in all shapes and sizes, all created to pair deliciously with the sauce that it is served with. It is suggested that you keep your eye out for durum wheat pasta as it offers far more flavor. Pasta, whichever way it is served, with a decadent sauce or dash of cheese, always makes for a filling meal.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Perfect for cooking, adding to sauces and finishing off salads this is a must-have pantry item. Always opt for the extra-virgin olive oil, which can easily be purchased at your nearest supermarket. The light extra-virgin olive oil is better when choosing to cook as it can withstand higher temperatures. This oil is regularly used in Italian cooking to replace fats such as butter.
A hint of balsamic vinegar and a swirl of olive oil and you have yourself a perfect salad dressing or a tasty extra to dip fresh, oven-baked bread into.
Fresh tomatoes, no matter what size always feature highly in Italian cooking. They also serve as the foundation and main ingredient to one of the more popular sauces, Passata di Pomodoro. It is uncommon to add anything else than a pinch of salt when making the sauce, traditionally sugar is not added.
The Amalfi coast is Italy’s most renowned region for lemons. These zesty citrus fruits are sought after because of the flavors and aromas they bring to any dish that they are added too.
The more garlic, the better and always opt for fresh garlic that you can chop up at home than in already processed containers.
Enjoyed as flavorsome snacks or in salads and pasta sauces, there aren’t many pasta dishes in Italy that are served without these nor a dish that is made without using a dash of extra-virgin olive oil.
The same can be said for mushrooms, many Italian dishes regularly feature them for the variety of flavors that they bring to a dish and their appeal to those who eat meat. Always try and buy a pack of porcini mushrooms if you can find them. You cannot go wrong with including them in your cooking.
Onion, Celery, and Carrots
Always choose fresh ingredients, Italian fundamentals include the three above mentioned ingredients and also serve as a base when making popular meals and sauces.
The artichoke is lauded for its nutritious benefits, such as being rich in iron, apart from its health benefits it frequently appears in Italian dishes. Some versions include those that are pickled and served as antipasto or cooked and included in stews and pasta dishes.
The whole plant can be eaten, and one should never be hesitant to try and prepare for it and include it in your cooking.
To prepare an artichoke you do the following:
- Remove the sharp pointed head of the plant and the rougher, outer leaves.
- Remove the stalk and cut the artichoke into eight equal pieces, lengthways.
- Cut out the choke of the plant and any further leaves that you feel are not necessary and might ruin the sauce with their flavor.
- Place them into water with a dash of lemon or vinegar so that they do not lose their color.
- Add to your cooking as you see fit or as the recipe dictates.
Add a dash of extra saltiness to any salad, pizza or pasta with a handful of capers.
Pasta and cheese is such a simple combination, and always a winner!
Popular cheeses of choice are:
Cold meats are perfect when served with a selection of crackers but can also be added to pasta dishes for added flavor. Favored cold meats include salami, Italian sausages, prosciutto, and pancetta.
What would a meal be without a glass of wine in hand? Many sauces and stews make use of wine as an ingredient, so it is always wise to consider keeping a few red or white bottles of wine in the pantry.