Here's how I typically cook pasta (don't scream at me): Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt (I know this is wrong, but what am I, made of salt?), add noodles, set a timer for whatever the box says, drain, plop into a bowl, dollop some barely-warm sauce over top and mix it up as I eat. It's efficient.
Achieving this pasta perfection is a two-step process.
It takes only a bit more attention (and one additional pan) to achieve "a deeper-tasting dish in which all the ingredients are wedded in a well-balanced whole." Here's how:
Undercook the pasta by about 2 minutes. (When you're only cooking pasta for 8 minutes total, this is a significant chunk of time!) "This ensures that the pasta maintains an essential spine of chewiness."
Then, "finish cooking the noodles in the sauce, which, ideally, you’ve been simmering in a skillet on another burner." By adding the pasta to the sauce before it's fully cooked, you're giving the noodles (which are still not fully rehydrated) 1 to 3 minutes to absorb the flavors of the pan—to meld, to marry (I now pronounce you, pasta and sauce).
And, it should be said, this does not have to be a fancy sauce—it could be as simple as olive oil, garlic, and herbs. In the cookbook, the authors apply this one-two step to all kinds of pasta dishes, from bucatini with ramps to rigatoni with spicy salami and tomato.
But what's the first pasta-sauce combination you'll try it on? Personally, I've got my eye on some asparagus and brown butter.
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.