Spaghetti is one of the most common Italian-American dishes. As such, you would think it would be pretty easy to make, but if you can't manage to replicate the delicious flavor of your favorite Italian restaurant's spaghetti at home, you are not alone! There's more to making delicious spaghetti than you might think. Here are some tips to transform your homemade spaghetti into something you'd be proud to serve at a restaurant table:
1. Buy fresh pasta.
There are some brands of dried pasta that taste good, but they're few and far between. You'll increase your chances of good results if you purchase fresh spaghetti noodles instead. Look for them in the refrigerator section of your grocery store; they are usually near the Italian cheeses. Pay close attention to the cooking instructions on the package, too. Where dry spaghetti may need to boil for 7 - 10 minutes, fresh usually only needs to cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
2. Use enough water.
So many people boil their pasta in far too little water -- this results in overly starchy noodles that weaken the flavor of the sauce and stick together on the plate. To properly boil your spaghetti noodles, you need at least a gallon of water per pound of pasta. Use a great big pasta pot, and fill it with cold water -- not hot water, since hot water may carry sediment from the water tank that could change the flavor of the pasta. Do not add your pasta to the water until it has come to a rolling boil -- and don't forget to salt your water generously, too.
3. Make your own sauce.
There are some great jarred sauces out there, but nothing compares to homemade. Find a good recipe that has you boil the sauce for hours on the stove to concentrate it. "Quick" sauces don't tend to have as much flavor, as you cannot boil enough moisture out of them. If you do not have time to make your own sauce, start with a jarred sauce and then add some additional fresh basil, fresh minced tomatoes, and a little garlic to pep things up.
4. Mix a little sauce with the pasta.
Instead of just putting a heap of spaghetti on the plate and spooning sauce on top of it, toss your noodles with a little bit of sauce in the pan, then top them with more sauce when you plate them. This helps to keep the noodles from sticking, and also ensures equal sauce distribution in every bite.