(InStyle.com) -- New York City restaurateur Donatella Arpaia shows how to cook flawless pasta, how to pair it with the ideal sauce, and even the secret to boiling water (yes, there's a right way!)
Donatella Arpaia gives her bucatini the taste test.
• Always buy 100 percent durum-wheat pasta made in Italy (De Cecco is a good supermarket brand).
• Cook pasta in a two gallon stockpot. Bring water (a gallon for every pound) to a rolling boil, then add two tablespoons of salt per gallon. Never add oil, which prevents sauce from adhering to pasta. When water returns to a boil, add pasta. Stir often to prevent sticking.
• A minute before the package time indicates, take out a piece of pasta and bite it. As soon as it's a uniform, translucent color, drain (but never rinse), add sauce and serve.
• Marry the sauce to its pasta: When pasta is just shy of done, add it to the pan of sauce. Toss over high heat for 2 minutes (add a little reserved pasta water if sauce is too thick).
• If you are using cheese in your dish, mix in a couple tablespoons with drained pasta first; it makes the pasta stickier so sauce clings to it.
• Don't over-sauce pasta. Use it as a condiment, with just enough to cover each strand.
• Use the right pasta shapes: Flat (like fettucine) with creamy sauces; long, thin (spaghetti, linguine) with seafood sauces; holes or ridges (rigatoni) or molded (farfalle) with chunky sauces; very thin (angel hair) with light sauces; thick and tubular (ziti) for baked dishes.
Arpaia gives the secrets to making pasta at home taste as delicious as at her restaurants:
1. Fresh rosemary smells great and is handy to snip into a dish.
2. Present pasta beautifully in a ceramic bowl.
3. Add Italian sea-salt tablet to boiling water.
4. A must: sleek stainless spaghetti tongs that effortlessly hold pasta.
5. Arpaia's easy pasta enhancements: arrabiata sauce, black truffle oil and anchovy oil.
6. Opt for handcrafted pasta.
Bucatini with Shrimp
4 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cans (35 oz. each)
San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 lb. cooked bucatini
2 cups fresh buffalo ricotta (or substitute regular ricotta)
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
2. Cook shrimp about 3 minutes or until partially cooked through. Remove shrimp from skillet; set aside.
3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until softened. Add wine.
4. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Return shrimp to skillet; add basil and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over hot pasta. Dollop with ricotta and garnish with basil leaves if desired. Serves 8.
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe
1-1/2 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 lb. orecchiette
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
5 anchovy fillets, mashed (optional)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 tsp salt
1. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook broccoli rabe for 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove from water; drain well.
2. Return water to boil; add pasta and cook according to package directions; reserve 1 cup water; drain well.
3. In large skillet heat oil over medium heat and cook garlic until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in anchovies, if using, and pepper flakes.
4. Add broccoli rabe, pasta and reserved water; cook until heated through and liquid has been reduced.
5. Stir in almonds. Season with salt. Garnish with Parmesan. Serves 8. E-mail to a friend
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