The Best Way to Sauce Pasta
One of the primary philosophies of GVI is passing along ways to live a more Italian life (even if you're not in Italy), often shedding and evolving away from the often corrupted and devolved Italian-American traditions and methods of language, culture, and of course cooking. One of my biggest changes in recent years is to my old Italian-American method of cooking pasta--simply topping with sauce. I learned from my mother. She would boil and drain the pasta, then pour sauce over the top of each individual plate of pasta, leaving it up to us whether or not to toss with the pasta or not.
The authentic, Italian method of cooking pasta is under-cooking the pasta, then finishing in the saute pan where you have prepared the sauce while the pasta is boiling. The next step is adding the under-cooked pasta to the saute pan, then adding a few ladles of starchy pasta water. Cooking further and tossing the pasta, the starch in the water allows the sauce to thicken and cling to the pasta. The pasta water both cooks the pasta and thickens the sauce, until the sauce becomes creamy and coats the pasta in a shimmering way.
This method impregnates the sauce INTO the pasta and imparts enormous flavor.
In Nostra Cucina, gone are the days of putting drained pasta on the plate and simply topping with sauce.