I've just returned from another business trip abroad. While I am fortunate to enjoy plenty of good food during travel, there's just something about the pasta you make at home that is comforting. I make all kinds of pasta, so today I wanted to talk about some of the ways I like to make and serve pasta dishes.
I also like to make a couple different types of seafood pasta. I'll separate these into two categories; red sauce and no sauce.
For a lighter dish, I often make pasta simply with a splash of olive oil, minced fresh garlic, chopped fresh basil and some salt/pepper. To this I'm fond of adding some grilled shrimp, which are quick to do on the grill or on a grill pan on the stove top. I make a variation of this for clams, by steaming the clams in some broth made with clam juice, white wine, butter and onions. Once the clams have opened I use the flavorful sauce to toss with the pasta.
Heavy cream sauces (think Alfredo) are not something I often make. While they are flavorful, I just find them too rich to consume. I do sometimes add a little cream to a tomato-based sauce which helps to reduce acidity and can improve the texture.
For all of the above, I cook the pasta until it's just barely 'al dente'... or still pretty firm. I do this because, regardless of the sauce I'm making, I transfer the pasta into the sauce and cook it a few minutes more there, as I find it better absorbs the flavor and gives a superior presentation. If there is one thing I can't stand it is plain boiled pasta that has been plated then topped with sauce. This invariably leads to a plate with water under the pasta. Yuk! And I use all types of pasta noodles, from very thin to very thick and all shapes, sizes and colors.
So as you can see, I find pasta such a versatile and comforting dish, I make it often. That could be because my mother was Italian. Or it could be that pasta is just a good food; easy to digest and wonderful on the palate.