A lot of this comes from Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode entitled, “Pantry Raid I, Use Your Noodle.” Pasta classifications are according to shape and greatly influence the sort of sauce you can use.
Pasta is made from water, semoulina (from durum wheat) and standard flour in a 60%-40% ratio. Sometimes egg or egg yolk is added, but I’m not yet sure why or when.
Count on 3-4 ounces spaghetti per person.
Employ at least 6 quarts water per pound of pasta. Amount of salt is a function of volume of water, 1 tsp per quart. Salt is essential because once pasta takes up water, it won’t take up any seasoning.
Stir for first 30 or 40 seconds; bring water back to a rolling boil (cover pot to accellerate this) then turn down a little and uncover to keep from boiling over.
If stretchy like rubber band (method for fettucine and spaghetti), it’s almost done: taste it to ensure not chewy or floury.
Pour olive oil and sprinkle minced garlic on bottom of large serving bowl or platter. Dump pasta, then toss with cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, nuts etc. and fresh-ground black pepper. There wasn’t too much oil if none pools on the platter afterward.
“Everything you see, I owe to pasta.” (Sophia Loren)
“La mejor salsa del mundo es la hambre.” (Cervantes)
—gotta find a place for this somewhere in these pages.