There are two types of pasta pots which are used for two different things, one to cook the pasta and one to make the sauce, for the pasta pot you want a nice 8 quart pot that will hold the temperature when you drop the pasta in, so just to get the definition right, the pan that you’ll be cooking the pasta sauce in is not a pasta pot, this may be any french skillet or saute pan, when we are talking about pasta pan, we are talking about the pan you’ll be cooking your pasta in, but before we get in to the pan, there is one more thing you need to know which is crucial when it comes to making fresh pasta, There are two ways which most people get the pasta out of the pan, but only one of them is the right way to make fresh pasta.
Fishing VS dumping
I’m always in shock when I see someone take a colander and going to go ahead and dump their pasta into it with the water in their sink, there are a few things that repulse me more than this, and I guarantee you that any fresh pasta maker will tell you the same. when you dump your pasta with the water you get all the flour and dirt from the pan on top of your pasta, rather than the fresh flavor. the right way to get your cooked pasta out of your pasta pot (specially with fresh pasta) is by using kitchen tongs or a strainer, this way you fish out the pasta with out the parts you do not wish to have. another type of solution which some people find useful is using a pot with a steamer basket, which allow you to easily pick up the pasta, to be honest I never used a pot like that and I know that the opinions in the pasta world are divided when it comes to this method.
Pasta pot recovery
When it comes to pasta pot there is one important thing which you’ll need to keep in mind, this is a simple pot that you are basically boiling water in, nothing more than that. the thing is that your water needs to be boiling and able to keep the temperature as you drop the pasta into the pot, different pots had different levels of recovery level based on their material, if you are using a pot which does not recover quick enough, this will be shown in your pasta. many people like the cuisine art pasta pots (which also comes with the steamer basket), I find them to be okay, but not to quick to recover when it comes to temperature change, the all clad pasta pot is my favorite pasta pot, like all all clad pots it is a pure stainless steel pan with the ability to handle heat in a professional manner, I been using a variety of sizes of all clad pasta pots from 8 quart to 12 quart, depends on the amount of pasta that I am making, I highly recommend using a pot that is at least 8 quart size filled with water when you make your fresh pasta, this amount of water will make it easier to handle the temperature drop when you place your pasta in.
Using a pasta drying rack is something that will help you take your home made pasta making to the next level, and help you avoid having your fresh pasta stick and had to be redone, drying your pasta right is a very important part of making pasta at home. If you made fresh pasta at home before you already know how crucial it is to let your pasta dry in the right way other wise your freshly cut pasta will dry on top of each other and stick back into another form of dough.
I used to dry my pasta on a traditional pasta drying rack made from wood, which is the way pasta had been dried for many generations in my family, and indeed I find nothing wrong with using this method, until a friend of mine gave a gift the Marcato Atlas Pasta Drying Rack, which comes from another family who been making fresh pasta for many generations (perhaps even longer than my heritage ), at first this looked to me like some kind of a toy I do not need in my kitchen, when I opened the packaged the thing looked like a tripod, a pasta tripod, I wasn’t sure if this is the right pasta gadget for me. Then one day I was invited to make fresh pasta at another friend kitchen where he also had the same fancy pasta drying rack, that was the night everything changed.When I saw the pasta drying rack out I told my friend are you sure we can use this thing, and she assured me, just give it a try you wont be able to make pasta with out it after, I promises you. and indeed she was right, I had never made fresh pasta with out it since.
It is no surprise that pasta makers like the Marcato family thought about such a great pasta gadget, such a fantastic mix of innovation, technology and pasta making tradition, the drying rack is made in Italy and comes with 16 8″ arms that fan out to dry pasta conveniently, it’s really beautiful to see the pasta drying on this rack, and more so it is super easy to place the pasta on it, the arms rotate all together so one pasta does not fold on top of the other, and when you are done, you can simply fold them all together, so it does not take much kitchen space, while providing you more space to dry your pasta on (I don’t know any other pasta drying rack which can fit almost two lbs of pasta)
The Marcato Atlas pasta drying rack is made of polycarbonate and chrome plated steel which are very durable, but also very easy to clean. if you used a wood pasta drying rack before you know that the pasta always stick to it and that it takes a bit of an effort to clean, this is not the case with this drying rack, you can simply wipe it with a wet paper towel or even wash it in the sink, its that simple.
One more thing which I really like about this new type of pasta rack is that it has this handle that you can place bellow your pasta maker as the pasta comes out of the blade, it falls on top of it, then you can lift it and place it on the rack rather than touch the pasta with your hands (keeps both your hands and the pasta clean!)