Warm Months and Pairing Pasta
The warmer months are finally upon us even if Seattle likes to throw us for a loop with a rain induced weekend here and there. But all and all, lighter weather means lighter food. Heartier fare takes a backseat allowing fresh seasonal ingredients to take center stage such as leeks, celery and so much more. And one reason to love Italian Food during the Spring and Summer months (well, any month really) is the fact that you can count the number of ingredients in practically any dish on one hand. The best dishes are simple, and full of bold flavor, not hidden behind ingredient after ingredient. Each element should hold its own and complement one another.
A key ingredient in any Italian dish is of course pasta but many people lack the knowledge of pairing pastas with the right sauce. Pairing you might ask? Yes, pairing is essential and not just for wine, though Italians are pretty good at that too. Back to the earlier thought of light dishes, strand pastas are perfect for this time of year. They are thin and delicate (spaghetti, capellini and trenette) and best served with light oil-based sauces, light cream-based sauces and butter-based sauces.
Now once you get the idea of pairing down, cooking pasta is an art form all on its own. A few tips to help make your pasta perfect.
- Always season the cooking water with a generous helping of salt. It will yield more savory and flavorful results.
- Stir often to prevent sticking, and undercooked pasta.
- Test your pasta early. You want it to feel firm, yet slightly resistant when you bite into it. And keep in mind pasta will continue to cook after you drain it so stop cooking thin pastas just before it reaches the al dente state.
- Never rinse your pasta after it’s been drained. Rinsing strips away starches that help your sauce cling to the pasta.
Ready to taste Spring and Summer? Assaggio has rolled out a few new, lighter lunch menu items including our Pesto Pasta which has trenette, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts for that warm weather enjoyment. And remember, a post-meal stroll is customary in Italy and highly encouraged any time the sun peeks through the clouds in Seattle.