This short pasta recipe from Italian chef Oldani is the reason why I began cooking pasta often lately. I really don’t remember how many times I prepared it since I discovered this recipe.
It is a recipe that always works. In the beginning, I kept watching the clock to follow the right cooking time, now I don’t even watch it anymore! It always comes tasty and never overcooked. You can use more or less oil (even only a little bit), and…it will always be good.
Chef Oldani says it is his grandmother’s recipe, and we know how grannies cooked by feeling, not surrounded by timers and scales.
Being one who speaks very fast and does everything in a hurry, follow Oldani’s slow rhythm is a real challenge for me. A challenge that he always wins on me, because I surprise myself acting slowly and calmly as him.
Chef Oldani says the pasta resting time (he says it regarding risotto but works for pasta too) diminishes the dairy ingredients need (cheese and eventually butter on risotto). Let the pasta rest means have it very succulent – and indeed, each time I bite a piece of pasta I cannot avoid thinking about how succulent this short pasta recipe is.
So follow the time for the first time you prepare it, just to get into confidence – then follow your intuition.
Ingredients (for 2):
- 0.44 lbs “mezze maniche” short pasta
- 2 to 3 ladles tomato sauce
- Grated Grana or Parmigiano cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon zest
- Put about 33 oz water to warm on medium gas.
- Put a flat pan on medium heat, able to hold all pasta without overlapping.
- Pour the pasta into the flat pan and toast it for a couple of minutes.
- Pour the warm water over the pasta until it covers the pasta – not too little but either not too much. You may need less than 33 oz of water, depending on the pasta you’re using and the pan shape. DO NOT add salt.
- Let the pasta cook for 8 to 9 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed, leaving little creamy residual water.
- Take the pan off the gas and salt pasta and add tomato sauce. Mix it all and let it cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Turn off the gas and, slowly, add some grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and a thread of extra virgin olive oil. Mix it all well.
- Take a serving dish and transfer pasta into it, adding some more cheese, lemon zest, and another thread of extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve immediately and…
- Buon appetito!