Garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, red chili flakes and quality pasta make up this delectable dish.
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If you really want to learn how to cook, then you need to practice the concepts taught in this lesson. We've compiled some "edible exercises" along with some supporting recipes that will help reinforce what was taught in this lesson.
Take two small handfuls of the same quality dried, extruded-pasta (e.g., about 10 pieces of spaghetti x 2). Cook the first batch in non-salted, rapidly boiling water and the second batch in salted, boiling water. Cook, drain and then compare the flavor difference.
Next, cook a generous handful of quality dried, extruded-pasta (spaghetti) in plenty of properly-salted water. As you cook it, take out a noodle 3 minutes before you reach the recommended cooking time on the package…then do the same at 2 minutes…then at 1 minute and see when the pasta actually becomes al dente, by looking for the white dot. Drain and shake off the excess water from 75% of the pasta (do not rinse). Rinse the other 25% and then drizzle each sample with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Gently toss and notice which pasta the olive oil adheres to better.
Make the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (recipe below). This should be your first supporting recipe where you focus on a simple Italian plate of perfectly-cooked pasta. Then feel free to explore some of the other recipes.
Grab a friend and go out to a well-respected, Italian restaurant. Spend some time reading the menu to see how the chefs have paired the pastas (e.g., fine pastas with more delicate sauces, and hardier pastas with more robust sauces and ingredients with intense flavors). Order one of each and share, so that you can compare the difference in texture and how they feel in your mouth.
In partnership with:
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver