Spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, penne, farfalle, fusilli, rigatoni … how many other types of pasta can still come to your mind? Dozens and dozens! Italian cuisine is very rich in recipes with pasta as the main ingredient, but the classic pot of boiling and salted water is certainly not the only way to cook it: find out with me what alternative cooking methods exist and what their characteristics are!
The risotto pasta owes its name to its preparation, in all respects similar to that of risotto: put all the ingredients in a large pan – after preparing the sauté if necessary – and the raw pasta, it is cooked adding everything gradually boiling water or cooking liquid (e.g. tomato water) and stirring, just as you do to get a nice creamy risotto. Obviously, you can also cook the risotto pasta on the gas hob, but using an induction hob will reduce the risk of it sticking to the bottom of the pan and allow you to obtain an excellent and uniform result. This type of preparation lengthens cooking times but the ingredients bind better to the pasta thanks to the presence of starch, which is kept in the pan. To conclude, this method can be applied to many recipes: from a simple variant of pasta with tomato sauce to first courses of vegetables, fish, or creamy cheeses!
ONE PAN PASTA AND ONE POT PASTA
One-pot pasta is a type of preparation that is also spreading in Italy: literally “one-pot” means in a single pot; it is a matter of cooking both the pasta and the ingredients for the chosen recipe in the same container. Unlike the risotto pasta, for the one-pan pasta, the water is at room temperature and is immediately added together with all the other ingredients, to then start cooking. It is a quick and fast way to obtain a creamy pasta with well-blended flavors, halving the cooking times, therefore, even if many will turn up their noses, why not experiment? This method of cooking of American origin made me very curious, also because both James Oliver and Martha Stewart have whole cookbooks dedicated to one-pot pasta … impossible not to investigate! Finally, did you know that some Italian brands offer the “no-boil” version of the classic Italian pasta formats abroad, designed specifically for one-pan cooking?
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE POT PASTA AND ONE-PAN PASTA
The cooking method does not change between the two alternatives, but the type of pot used varies: “pot” means the casserole, a deep pan with side handles, ideal for containing ingredients with a more liquid consistency, while the “Pan” is the pan, lower and with a single handle.
Cooking pasta in a pressure cooker allows you to halve time and above all waste in the kitchen, simply and quickly. As you know for me these are all fundamental points! The main precaution is to pay close attention to cooking times and proceed by inserting all the ingredients in the pan from the beginning. This method has significant advantages: it helps to reduce both the waste of water and to obtain a lighter first course, without adding additional fats such as oil, and with a very small portion of salt. Cooking in a pressure cooker is not a recent novelty, on the contrary it is one of the most popular techniques for cooking on the boat, since it allows you to keep all the ingredients under control and save time, space, and effort for cleaning various pots. In addition, I discovered that it is now spreading also in the United States, after the ex-first lady Michelle Obama declared enthusiastic, precisely for the reasons of eco-sustainability that I told you about.
Passive cooking requires that the pasta is thrown into the water as soon as it boils and that it is then cooked in the pan for only two minutes. Subsequently, the fire is turned off and the pan covered with a lid: cooking will then passively continue, without the hob still operating. At that point, just leave the pasta in the pot for the remaining minutes indicated on the package, for example, if 13 minutes of cooking are foreseen, the first 2 minutes will be carried out with the fire on and the remaining 11 with the fire off. Passive cooking allows the pasta to remain more al dente and above all to maintain in itself some important nutrients such as starch, which is usually dispersed in water with the longest traditional cooking.
Express cooking is a cooking technique that allows you to save some time and obtain a well-mixed pasta with your own dressing, it is also very easy to make: just stop cooking one minute from the end of the time indicated on the package and conclude it in the pan together with the other ingredients. I really care about this step to flavor and extract the starches of the pasta … result: the perfect cream for a very tasty first!
The double cooking has the advantage of facilitating the organization of the service: it is a matter of cooking the pasta for half the time provided by the instructions on the package, in advance of about 3 hours and leaving it in the refrigerator once it has cooled