Lagostina Pastaiola Pasta Pan
Cook pasta all'Italiana
A recent trip to my favourite trattoria in Rome and a plate of spaghetti all’arrabiata with the pasta softly enrobed with the spicy sauce, prompted me to work out how to replicate this at home. So what is the secret to perfect pasta? There are two tricks that Italians use: first you need a really large pan so the pasta cooks in lots of water. And secondly, finish by adding the pasta to the hot sauce in its pan so that it is completely coated by the sauce and absorbs all the flavours. But for this you need two pans and this is what I am going to feature this month and next.
So first, this month, the pasta pan. I believe it is better to invest in a brilliant one that should last for life, but then eating pasta is very important to me. The main thing is that it has to hold a lot of water – pasta needs at least 4 litres of water and a tablespoon of sea salt to 400g dried pasta (or 250g fresh) to cook correctly and not stick together in a gluey lump. It should have a heavy base, which is important so it will not show signs of burning over time.
The one I have chosen comes from the Rolls Royce of cookware brands in Italy – Lagostina and is called, appropriately La Pastiaola (the pasta maker). Already a good sign! And it is part of their Heritage range, which is a collection of quality items designed for cooking classic Italian dishes. It has an elegant design with curvy handles; a capacity of 6 litres which is enough to cook pasta for at least 6 people. It also has a three-layer bonded base featuring a thick aluminium core sandwiched between 2 layers of stainless steel for thorough even heating.
And it has an inner basket. Now when these inner baskets appeared for the first time I was sceptical – why do I need to pay for this when I simply have to lift the pan and drain it in a colander over the sink? Well if your pasta has ever tipped over in the sink, or you have burnt yourself, or you find you have no pasta water left to emulsify your sauce, then you will realise how important the basket is. You simply lift it out and it drains itself and then pour the pasta directly into your pan of sauce – all done over the hob. The Lagostina strainer basket has differentiated holes positioned in such a way that the pasta drains gently.
And finally it comes with its own wooden spaghetti measure and pasta fork. And a 25 year guarantee. Expensive yes but brilliant quality.
A great investment
Lagostina La Pasta set Pastaiola
Suitable for all hob types including induction
Availability and price as at 30th April 2019