It’s all about some of the most authentic Italian in the city, this week on We are Austin. Goodtaste dishes on the recipe for baked lasagna from Chef Carmelo Mauro of Carmelo’s Austin. Plus, tips to crafting the perfect pasta at home. It’s National Pasta Month!
With more than 600 known pasta shapes, it’s no wonder pasta is one of the world’s most famous foods. Pasta may have a bad rep with carbs, but did you know it has a lower glycemic index (GI) of 25-45 than bread (whose GI is 75), and potatoes with a GI of 80. In other words, pasta is healthy for you!
Carmelo’s restaurants serve nearly 10,000 pounds of pasta each year. Both locations (Houston & Austin) hold the Seal of Ospitalita Italiana from the Italian Government, guaranteeing the authenticity of the cuisine.
For those wishing to make the perfect pasta for the fam at home, Chef Carmelo Mauro suggests following 10 easy steps:
1. Use a large pot so the pasta can expand while cooking. Fill with 4 to 5 quarts of water for every 1 pound of pasta.
2. Always start with cold water to ensure you boil out any impurities.
3. Heavily salt the water just as the water begins to boil adding 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water.
4. Never add oil to your pasta cooking water. Oil keeps sauce from sticking to the pasta.
5. Bring water to full boil before adding pasta. Remove lid once you add pasta to boiling water and the rolling boil begins again.
6. Stir often so the pasta cooks evenly.
7. Check pasta consistency often during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Cook to al dente, which means “to the bite.” Al dente pasta is healthier as it absorbs slower during digestion. If adding pasta to a sauce, remove it 3 minutes prior to cooking instructions and then let it cook to al dente in the sauce.
8. Save some of the pasta water to add to your sauce to thicken it and add flavor.
9. Never rinse cooked pasta. You need the starch on the pasta to help the sauce adhere and elevate the flavor.
10. Serve with a sauce or olive oil for the perfect entrée or side dish.
Among the different homemade favorites served each day with angel hair, fettuccine and lasagna are most popular, according to Carmelo Mauro.
Carmelo’s has crafted five special pasta dishes to be served throughout October. Each pasta features different shapes, sizes, ingredients and traditions to showcase the best from northern to southern Italy — as an entrée or starter.