The amount of pasta needed for each guest has always been a calculation that has kept many home cooks from preparing the correct amount for their guests
The best rule of thumb is that one pound of pasta will be more than enough for four people…and probably just enough for six. In Italy the standard is 100 grams per person, which is 3 oz. each.
Pasta needs enough water to cook properly and enough room to freely move around in, while absorbing the water.
These are two very important areas where, simply, a large pot with a built in colander will do the job. These particular pasta pots hold about eight quarts of water and are available at specialty cookware stores. The water must be boiling and salted before the pasta is put into the water. Only use imported Italian pasta and do not rinse.
Pasta can dry out quite quickly at times.
A very effective way to assist you in dealing with this occurrence is to save some of the pasta water and use it to loosen things up when necessary.
I only use unsalted butter and the reason is simple. Unsalted butter is neutral in salt so that you will have better control over the flavor when reducing a sauce. Remember the more you reduce a sauce the more intense the flavors will become.
Do not allow the herbs and spices to turn brown or burn.
Garlic becomes bitter and fresh herbs lose all their flavor. I always have some stock handy for use when I need to infuse olive oil with the flavors of herbs and spices. Using a little stock while heating the olive oil and the herbs allows the flavor of the ingredients to meld better without the herbs and spices burning. The stock will evaporate and you will be left with a full-flavored olive oil to begin your sauce with.
The seed of the tomato is the single greatest cause of long-cooking sauces turning sour or having a bitter taste.
Sometimes a recipe will call for some sugar to remove the sour from the sauce, but next time try removing the seeds first and leaving out the sugar. This is a bit more work but well worth the effort.
Most great and wonderful things in life require time to mature.
The examples are endless. Sauce is one of those examples which when hurried along does not end up with the same results as when left to cook slowly. Watch your liquid content and use medium heat when called for and/or high heat when needed.
The use of heavy bottomed pans is very important in the distribution of heat in the cooking process.
Thin pots and pans get hot too quickly and may cause you to burn an herb or ruin an entire sauce. Thick or heavy bottomed pans also allow you to regulate the amount of heat better.
Cold ingredients will lower the temperature of the pot or pan.
This is not something that you want to happen. When using cream try warming it up a little before using.
I love hot food hot.
To make the pasta stay warm longer, heat the serving bowl and the individual pasta bowls in the oven just long enough to remove the chill.