|~Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.~|
Pastasciutta (pastashoota) is the Italian word for any of the innumerable pasta and sauce dishes that Neapolitans are so enthusiastic about and hands down my favorite thing to cook and eat! The Neapolitans have had a long time love affair with pastasciutta so much so that the King of Naples actually invented the 4 thronged fork just to make his pasta passion a little more enjoyable. Forget all that ridiculousness about how pasta is bad for you and will make you fat and just take a moment to look at the Italians who in a 2006 European Study were found to stay healthier longer compared with with those in other European countries. Not to mention they are the thinnest European country with a BMI of 24.3 with the French coming in second with a BMI of just under 25. So go ahead and enjoy a nice bowl of pastasciutta....... everyday if you like. But just remember to use Italian portions which is around 2-3 ounces. A pound (16 ounces) of pasta will typically feed 7-8 in my family. Now if you are going to cook a nice bowl of pastasciutta there a few basic, but oh so imortant, rules to preparing it to perfetto:
1) Quality Pasta, I like Italian pasta (Naturalmente!)
2) Use a very large pot of water, the pasta likes to "move" around ; ) Asmall a pot of water will almost always results in sticky pasta.
3) As soon as it boils add the salt, you need a very large pinch or two, you can taste the water and if tastes slightly salty that is the correct amount.
4) Stir the pasta as soon as it hits the water a few times thereafter.
5) Check the pasta by tasting 2 minutes before the time on the package. Neapolitans like it al dente (With a little give to the tooth) which not only tastes better but is also part of the reason Italians stay so slim, it requires more energy to digest!
6) When you drain the pasta shake well to remove all the water and then immediately add the sauce tossing to coat. I also like to add the pasta with sauce back to the pot to cook together for about 1 minute allowing the 2 to become 1!
I hope I have not made all of this sound way too scientific because cooking and eating pasta is really not about that at all. Pastasciutta is about fun, family, sustenance and living La Dolci Vita. My husband always encourages me to just make pasta when we are having people over and I ask, "What should I make?" After all, Its simple, economic, good, and everyone loves pasta!
~ Some Of My Favorite Pastasciutta Recipes~
Butta la pasta! - What Italians say as as they walk in the door after a long day at work, “Throw in the pasta!”
Fare Una Spaghettata – To eat spaghetti with friends, my favorite!
La Spaghettata Di Mezzanotte – Midnight pasta, shared by friends after a night out. I remember my Neapolitan cousin, Maria Theresa, and her friends enjoying this after a night at the Cinema, where they skip the popcorn and wait for the spaghetti di Mezzanotte!