Head Chef Brett's top pasta tips.
- The golden rule for pasta is never over cook the pasta... Pasta should be 'Al dente', this means the pasta is not fully cooked, so when bitten, the center of the pasta is still firm for an area of approximately 1mm. If you are not going to be eating the pasta straight away, place the cooked pasta in ice water or run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle with olive oil and toss the pasta so it is lightly coated, to stop it from sticking together while it stands.
- When cooking pasta, season the water with salt and add olive oil. Wait for the water to come to a rapid boil before adding the pasta. Placing a lid on the pot will shorten the cooking time. Once you place the pasta in the boiling water, give it a stir to prevent it from sticking together or to the pot - you can repeat this occasionally if you like.
- If you’re having a saucy pasta make sure it is reduced/thick enough, a watery sauce can be quite a let down... Making your sauce separately is the best policy - adding it to your dish towards the end will ensure a perfectly warm and flavourful meal as well as keep your pasta from over cooking. A great alternative is tossing your pasta in some pesto and butter or simply drizzle with olive oil.
- Try not to over complicate your dish - the more complex, the more there is that can go wrong, keep it simple and fresh. Fresh herbs like basil, dill and thyme go great with pasta.
- The quality and freshness of your ingredients is paramount: From the pasta itself to all the ingredients, even the salt and oil you use, will impact on the success of your final dish.