Italy’s Pasta Fascination
When most people think of Italy, the first two things that come to mind are pizza and pasta. Italians believe that the way they cook their pizza and pasta is far better to what is served in restaurants and fast food places. That is why many Italians do not eat pasta anywhere except when they are in Italy. So what are the stories behind Italians and their fascination with pasta? Let’s find out.
The act of cooking pasta is almost a religious ritual for many Italians. Pasta cooking combines both tradition and art, and Italians take it very seriously, almost to the point of obsession. Have you ever heard the term al dente? Yes, Italians need their pasta to be cooked al dente, otherwise, the standards will not be met. Al dente means that the inner part of the pasta needs to be slightly uncooked. They are very specific about the exact time when the pasta needs to be taken out of the boiling water so that it doesn’t come out overcooked. The timing is so meticulous that if you read instructions behind a pasta pack sold in Italy, it will mention a different cooking time as compared to the same pasta brand being sold in the US. Of course, it is a matter of preference but Italians believe that pasta al dente is more easy to digest.
Another thing that Italians love about their pasta is that it has to be made fresh. Most restaurants have one or two boilers and cook the dish only when the order is placed. That will certainly make you feel that you are eating in an authentic Italian restaurant. And god forbid that you try to order something different from your mates because cooking each dish separately will take so much time that the waiter will simply refuse your wish. Even the restaurant manager cannot help you here!
You might have heard that to test if the pasta is ready, you pull a strand of spaghetti and toss it against the wall. The Italians consider this an utter sabotage of food, not to mention the kitchen walls. Their alternative is much simpler and less messy. Simply take the pasta strand and break it into two halves, that will tell you if the pasta is ready or not. And for the novice chefs, just take a small bite and you will know when to stop cooking. Italians also condemn the practice of rinsing pasta after it is cooked, let the sauce take care of the stickiness problem. The pasta chef also suggests that when the food is ready to eat, do not waste time twirling with a spoon. Simply dig in your fork and get going with that yummy pasta before someone else comes to share it. It is no secret that Italians eat pasta frequently, so much so that even Italian doctors do not mind such eating habits. In fact, a new study actually proved that eating pasta is not as fattening and heart clogging as most people think it is. Pasta is packed with carbohydrates, and rich in vegetable nutrients and proteins. Who can complain when nutritious food can be so yummy?
The next time you have a craving for pasta, either invite an Italian friend to cook or visit an authentic Italian restaurant to understand the true fascination with pasta.