Pasta cooking is an art, not a science. Precise recipes for cooking pasta make only limited sense–because every chef worth a strand or two of linguine has his or her own way of handling the water, the pot, the heat, the tossing, the serving, etc.
Recently, however, I made a discovery that I’m rather sure will improve any pasta dish.
How much salt do you add to your pasta cooking water? Recipes vary a great deal. I once asked pasta guru Giuliano Bugiali, who seemed startled by the question, and its implicit call for precision; “until you can… taste… the water,” he finally blurted out. It’s hard to predict exactly how much salt you should add to your pot to make perfectly seasoned pasta.
Last week, I didn’t salt the water at all. That’s right. But when the pasta (it was linguine) was in the colander receiving a light drizzle of olive oil, I sprinkled it with salt–enabling me to taste a strand and consider sprinkling more. It led to perfectly seasoned pasta–which led to a sauced dish that was more explosive in flavor than it had ever been before.
World: I introduce you to the concept of late-salted pasta. It must have been done before… but now you can join me in doing it too!