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How to prepare tasty pasta

Stefano Antoniolli
Tasty Pasta

Useful tips from Italian chef Stefano Antoniolli:


It is believed that cooking pasta is easy. This is not entirely true.

To prepare a tasty pasta dish you don’t need to be a culinary expert, however, you’ll have to learn how to create the optimum balance of pasta, sauce and other ingredients. It is important to know how to properly select and prepare pasta, and what sauce it should go with.

  • Pasta Vitalia is made of whole wheat grain only. When raw, it looks polished: it is corn-colored with a smooth surface. There is no flour dregs in the pack. The pack specifies wheat varieties: class A, or durum and wheat semolina, refers to hard wheat varieties, and group В refers to soft wheat varieties.
  • Pasta should be cooked "al dente" which translates from Italian as “to the tooth”. This means that it should remain tender crisp before use.
  • The main rule for preparing pasta is to keep the balance of water, pasta and salt. At least 1 liter of water and 10 grams of salt is required per 100 grams of pasta.  The water should be salted before the pasta goes in – right after the water boils. If you do it a bit later, the pasta will absorb salt in a wrong way
  • Good quality pasta will not exude much starch in the boiling water, and after boiling it will not tear, stick together or clump.
  • Pasta should be added only to the fast boiling water in the very center of the pot. After adding the pasta to the fast boiling water, you should turn up the heat to bring the water back to a fast boil. Do not cover the pot with a lid during cooking. Stir pasta every 3 minutes.
  • Do not add olive oil to the building water: it will make pasta slippery, and the sauce will run down it without being absorbed.
  • Always mind the recommended cooking time indicated on the pack. Two minutes before the pasta is  ready, taste it and adjust the cooking time for hardness. If cooked correctly, the pasta will be soft outside and a bit hard inside.
  • Pasta should not be rinse in cold water because the natural starch it has exuded helps sauce be absorbed. Besides, rinsing will decrease the content of useful substances and vitamins contained in pasta and will disturb its temperature balance.
  • In Italy they cook pasta 3 minutes less, then put it in a stewpot with already prepared sauce and bring it to doneness by letting sauce and all its flavors be absorbed properly.
  • Even after the pasta has been drained, it still continues to cook, which is why sauce should be added as quickly as possible. Sauces for pasta should be prepared in advance: so that ready pasta can be dressed and served immediately. Italians add very little sauce: just to top pasta. Pasta sauces can be found in a great variety. And all of them: white and red, cream and tomato, with bits of meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, seasoned with spices and wine – make pasta incredibly tasty and aromatic. The most popular sauces include: bolognese, alfredo, carbonara. Salads prepared with pasta are also nourishing, refreshing and tasty.
  • At the end, it’s best to top the dish with grated cheese parmesan (except dishes with seafood), freshly ground pepper and a sprinkle of olive oil. Lunch is served!