Pursuing Pasta Perfection
Despite cooking a very wide variety of foods, it is clear that Pasta is on the top of the list with both DH and DD. My pasta is good enough. I just learned a few good pesto recipes and have a roasted tomato pasta sauce recipe that I will try to make when the tomatoes are ready in my area. But I want to do it better. My pasta dishes are not predictably excellent and I think I need to choose better quality pastas and learn to cook it better. So here are my questions:
- Is there a cheat sheet of what shapes of pasta goes with what kind of sauce?
- What is a good quality dry pasta look like?any brands you would recommend? I see spagetti for a buck and for 3.99 and they both list durum wheat. How does one know which is better. I once read something about finding pasta made with bronze dies as they have a rougher texture that grabs on to more sauce. How do I even know which brands and types have this.
- Cooking pasta. I know al dente means it is not overcooked. As a venerable SCOTUS justice once said,"I know it when I see it" on the plate but I can't seem to always recognize it in the pot. Can I trust the cooking time on the package?
- Does pre-soaking pasta work? Is there a way to cook it in a smaller container instead of dragging out the big pasta pot each time?
- Can cooked pasta be frozen. It would be so convenient if I can have bags of plain frozen spagetti or penne ready in the freezer that I can combine for a quickie dinner.
- What about baking pasta. My baked pasta attempts always seem to have dry crusty edges and soggy middles. Is there a science to dish size and layering so that the veggie lasagna or the shell bake is cooked nicely, is moist but not soggy and the cheese is melted and a bit toast but not crisp.
Too many questions I know but you guys understand where I am going with this. Show me the light :)