I have a problem with the word noodle. A big problem, which has morphed into an Othello-like obsession, though it’s more of a hatred than a jealousy. I’ll start with the spelling and the sound. Noodle. Say it aloud and you’ll hear the inherent weakness. The word itself is limp, like a wet noodle. And no one likes that. Then there’s the frequent misuse. Hearing my beloved pasta so often referred to as a “noodle” is like hearing a hamburger called a beef sandwich. Of course, I can tolerate the word when properly used, i.e., in connection with Asian cuisine (e.g. soba noodles), or when the egg variety are served with Beef Stroganoff. But my pasta is no noodle. (Would you even read this blog if I had called it Sunday Noodles? Revolting!) Pasta is an Italian food, made from durum wheat, with centuries of artisanal evolution, fresh or dried, long or short, flat or tubular, stuffed or plain, crafted into any one of 500 shapes and sizes, cooked firm to an al dente perfection.
As for cooking pasta, it’s time to set the record straight. 1) start with a large pot, one that can hold 8 quarts of water. Bring it to a boil. Add some salt. Do not add oil. Bring it to a boil again. Add the pasta. Stir frequently. Cook until al dente (1 or 2 minutes less than the package suggests). Test it by biting into one, look for a slightly lighter color in the very center. It should be firm and chewy. Do not throw it at the wall. Drain it, but do not rinse it. Dress it with sauce, but do not drown it. When appropriate, sprinkle cheese on it, but do not smother it. Twirl it with a fork if it’s a long variety, but not with a spoon. And please, no knives.
Noodle the foregoing around for a while, and then repent if necessary. I may forgive you in time.
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this recipe.
Chop the beef into small, bite-sized, cubes. Heat some of the olive oil in a large skillet. Over high heat, add the garlic, stir for a moment. Add the the beef and rosemary and some salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, until resolved. Add the wine and mix together for a minute. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef, and set aside.
Into the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil, and then the onion, carrot, and celery. When translucent, add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook together for 20 to 30 minutes, until reduced. When the pasta is added to the water, return the beef to the skillet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it. Add the pasta to the skillet, and mix together for about a minute. Sprinkle with Parmigiano. Serve immediately.