Italians think they know everything
about cooking pasta, but that’s not true and I’m gonna show it to you. Here is
boiling water, we need it to cook pasta. Some salt, here is
pasta, I’m throwing it in. A quick stir, I’m covering it and putting the flame out.
R: On Cavalier Vincenzo Agnesi’s book, in 1929 you could read that, and on my personal
recipes books of the 60s you could find the same identical thing.
E: It’s called ‘passive cooking’ in this case. The term is obviously not correct, but it
makes its sense, as he is using the temperature of the water.
L: Let’s remind we are mistaken when talking about ‘cooking of pasta’.
We’re always rehydrating a product. E/R: Absolutely.
You didn’t expect it, did you? To cook pasta, it’s not necessary to keep the water
boiling. It’s not the boiling of water that is cooking pasta, or any
other ingredient. It’s the heat transferring from a hot element,
the water, to a colder element, the pasta. This is not a personal
invention, or other chefs’, even if this technique, this procedure, is
periodically re-discovered from cooks and chefs around the world.
It’s something we have known for at least 200 years.
L: Well, obviously for a restaurant like in my case, where times of
service are long and quantities of pasta are large, you always
need time to heat up. Objectively, the boiling is not constant at 100°C, but keeps much
lower temperatures, around 90-95°. Why should I be doing it? I’ll give
you at least 3 reasons. First: not to waste gas, 10 minutes of gas.
You could object that it’s not a lot of money. True, but if you
multiply it for the number of times you’re cooking pasta, and multiply
it for the millions of Italians cooking pasta every day… From a financial point of view,
and from an environmental one, it’s not negligible. The second,
more tactic reason is that by working in this way, I can have a
free flame, moving my pan and using the stove. Maybe I
don’t have not enough flames or I could be camping and I have a
single, small stove and the gas is almost out. My favorite
reason, though, is the third: why should I make something useless just
because that’s the way it’s always been done? E: Yeah, that’s what mum used to do.
R: It’s been like this since the 70s, since the first advertisement on tv, we’ve always seen it boiling in seethrough
pots… E: Well, it’s nice to see it in an advertisement, rather than flat water.
R: The only difference that can be noticed in the gentle or passive
cooking in this video, compared with a cooking with boiling water
at 100°C is the difference in the gelatinization of starches. L: True. In
this case, the pasta stays a little bit more – if taken away from the flame,
it doesn’t completely rehydrate, so it stays the
so-called ‘al dente’, or the white inner part stays a little bit uncooked. E: Temperature is still important.
Rehydrations on a cold temperature has an almost
vitrified effect on pasta, so it still needs a minute on the flame,
if you don’t want to see the translucency. R: We also need to understand the real
absorption of water from the pasta, as in cold rehydrations you can
get at most to the stage of fresh pasta after the wire drawing
procedure. If you boil it, you’re in some way making
pasta absorb more liquid, consequently getting to 140-160% of the
weight of the pasta itself. L: And the volume increases, as well. R: Exactly. But in this case,
I don’t know. E: If we’re on a diet, let’s boil it more to get more volume!
I’m topping it with the tomatoes I prepared earlier. E: See? It lookes cooked.
Perfect! Cooked to perfection!
R: Zero doubts! What he’s saying, and should be a general home cooking tip, is to use pot with a more limited
temperature release. Everything else is absolutely
coherent, correct. E: I have a single objection:
he used too little garlic! L: The same pots we’re using,
with the different shapes of pasta have to be matched. If we’re using
a spaghetti, I advise a narrow and high pot.
With a short pasta, it has to be shorter and larger. R: Be gentle! Oh, my god… Did you see that?
E: She was being gentle. R: No way! Look at that!
L: As I was saying before, by using
a different pot, she could avoid that. Like that, spaghetti are being traumatized.
R: Well, same goes for the pasta maker! We do all that
we can not to break spaghetti and there she comes! Bang! Come on! R: Do you know how a pasta
maker does to perfectly understand if ‘there’s a little bit of bite in the pasta’?
E: With glasses? R: With this one. This is something a pasta maker knows
before going to elementary school, as his dad used it to
put a spaghetti in between. If you press it and see there’s a thread…
The moment the pasta loses the thread
E: But not the vice! [way of saying]
R: It’s cooked. Oh, anyway… R: This is a nice tip.
Take it out earlier or it’s going to overcook.
When you strain it and keep sautéeing it, be it on or out of the flame, pasta goes on cooking,
even on the plate itself. L: If you can use it to thicken,
or in the technical jargon, toss meaning thickening it directly
in the pan, it’s always better to add it in a bowl, a large bowl where
you can mix it better, maybe with a curved ladle, never use pointed
tools like tongs, forks, carving forks… They always tend to ruin it. R: I’m always keeping a mug
next to the strainer, so I can throw water here and there…
E: It’s not even rich in starches, since she took it at the beginning,
then it’s cold. R: Useless. R: Some points are actually related to our tastes and we
criticized them, but in my opinion there are also very positive points.
E: The culture of pasta abroad is increasing. L: After all, pasta is an
open ingredient, it’s for everyone. The seasonings are
added in relation to personal tastes, so we’re not criticizing
pasta seasonings, we’re just suggesting to make an adequate
cooking of the pasta itself. What I noticed and I really liked it
is there’s a tendency to cook the pasta so-called ‘al dente’, meaning
not completely cooked. What I always say is better to have them firm
to the bite than overcooked. R: Another important aspect:
pasta feels alone while cooking, so never leave it alone. Let’s always
move it gently and taste it. Carefully, you’re there, taking care
of it. Taking good care of pasta means doing the same with the 7000
pasta makers in Italy. L: Hi everyone!
Have a good pasta!