One of the easiest and tastiest dinners a college student could make for themselves is pasta. Just throw some spaghetti into boiling water with a pinch of salt, warm up your sauce, mix it all together and presto — spaghetti alle appartamento!
Of course, as tasty as this lazy student’s pasta is, it can get a bit boring. It’s really nothing compared to your mom’s homemade pesto pasta or your dad’s beef ragu. Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in a day, money in our bank accounts and energy in our bodies. A lot of that time, money and energy is dedicated to schoolwork rather than making quality pasta. Mediocre pasta isn’t exciting and honestly, to the “real” Italian food connoisseur, a little offensive.
Adding a little flair to your basic pasta dish is actually quite easy. One of the best ways to make your pasta more exciting is by getting some ground Italian sausage, cooking it with olive oil in a pan and then mixing it in with your pasta and sauce. You can also use your normal sausage links and either slice them up or open up the casings and cook the ground meat inside.
Now that you’ve given your pasta the substance and flavor it needs from the sausage, the next step is to incorporate the golden child of popular Italian ingredients. Haven’t guessed it? Well friends, it’s garlic, and this wonderful ingredient is guaranteed to take your pasta to the next level. We would recommend dicing up one or two cloves of garlic and cooking it in a pan with some olive oil before mixing it into your pasta. You can add as much or as little as you want, but be warned, the more you put, the more likely you might scare your lab partner away when you try to speak to them.
The next big tip is to never let your pasta get mushy. You don’t want the flimsy consistency of dining hall pasta, so make sure to always keep a close eye on the pot. To get your pasta “al dente” (firm with a slight line of hard pasta in the center), we recommend tasting a piece every 30 seconds after about eight minutes of boiling. Take a piece out with a utensil of your choice, run it under cold water for a few seconds and take a bite to check. The key to getting the perfect bite is being vigilant and constantly trying the pasta.
Another great way to make your pasta experience more exciting comes after you’ve cooked it. Leftovers are always great to pack for lunch and microwave for dinner the next day. But microwaves are so last year, and the best way to cook your leftover is with — you guessed it, olive oil in a pan! Honestly, there’s really nothing that can’t be made better than with a little olive oil, and pasta is no exception. So get out your pan and “fry” up the leftovers, and sprinkle a little parmesan on once you’re done. You’ll thank us later.
So there you have it folks, follow our easy tips and you’ll be sure to enjoy your pasta a whole lot more than you already do. Don’t be afraid to mix it up; treat yourself to vodka, pesto or amatriciana sauce on your next trip down the sauce aisle at Trader Joe’s. So do as the Romans do, sit down with a glass of wine and fall in love with your pasta. It’s la vita è bella, so enjoy your food!
Contact Sunny Sichi at [email protected].