I love rainy days. Not zero-visibility, wrath-of-God thundering days, mind you- I mean enough rain to make the grass and trees look just a little bit greener, rain I can hear on our roof without fearing that it will take our window shutters off.
Today is such a day. The air is cool, and the dogs don’t mind getting themselves wet outside. On days like today, there’s nothing like a bowl of hot pasta- hot spaghetti to be precise- to curl up on the sofa with.
My husband introduced me to the joy of “plain” spaghetti- that is, perfectly cooked noodles with nothing more than a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper. That’s it. Sometimes, I like to throw on a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, perhaps a clove of crushed garlic- but make no mistake about it: the pasta is the star here.
It follows, then, that the pasta must be perfect. Start with good pasta- fresh if you have it, but there are several dried pasta brands I love as well, including Barilla and De Cecco. Bring your water to a rolling boil, salt it well (think seawater), and cook your pasta according to the directions on its packet. What I like to do is this: if the packet says “11 minutes”, I start tasting it at 9 minutes.
Drain your pasta- do not rinse it- and, working quickly, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it, sprinkle with kosher salt (not too much- the pasta is already salty from the cooking water), freshly ground pepper, the optional Parmigiano, and- you’re done.