If you want to cook like the Italians, here’s a tip: forget the few drops of oil in the water when cooking pasta. Barilla spokeswoman Laura Pastori acknowledges that it’s a common practice in Australia.

“But it’s something we don’t do it in Italy, ” she said.

Contrary to popular belief, oil stays on the surface of the water, so it doesn’t mix with the pasta. And if your pasta does stick together? That’s either because it’s not good-quality pasta, or you’re not using enough water, Ms Pastori said. It’s the type of tip you’re likely to pick up at the Barilla cooking classes, that were held at the Good Food & Wine Show last year.

Ms Pastori said the classes comprised of a 20-minute demonstration by a Barilla chef before the class of up to 60 replicated (and then ate) the dish. Likely ingredients would be pasta sauce, winter vegetables and Italian sausage as well as a pasta called casarecce, which translates to “homemade”.

“It’s a typical Sicilian pasta shape and a really good pasta shape because it always stays al dente, ” Ms Pastori said.

Those interested in making their own sauce were also able to participate in the Authentic Italian Pasta Sauce Masterclass. There they could learn how to make ricotta and tomato sauce — the same ingredients as used in one of Barilla’s popular products.

Ms Pastori said she often met people who told her: “I love your pasta but in terms of sauces, I make my own.”

That was fine by her, she said.

“We know how important it is to create your own sauce and we support people cooking their own sauce, ” she said, adding: “It’s not time-consuming, either.

“Half an hour and you can make a great pasta sauce.

“But if they are lazy on that day or don’t have time, then the Barilla product is actually a good option. We also understand tomatoes are not always in season.”

And it’s the quality of the tomatoes that helps define the quality of pasta sauce.

“Great tomatoes make great sauce and Barilla makes sure each jar has eight to 10 Italian tomatoes, ” she said.

Established in 1877, three Barilla brothers today lead the fourth-generation family company, which makes more than 1000 food products.

As for pasta, Barilla boasts a pretty impressive track record.

“Barilla is the number one in Italy, the number one in the USA and the number one pasta worldwide, ” Ms Pastori said.

Most of the Barilla pasta sold in Australia is imported from Italy.

“Sometimes people say it’s a different product but that’s not possible — we’re importing the same product, ” Ms Pastori said, though she said the wholegrain products come from the US production plants for marketing reasons.

Barilla is also rolling out a new gluten-free product made from rice and corn.

For similar food exhibits and masterclass experiences visit the Good Food & Wine Show from the 10th - 12th of July, at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre.

For more information visit: goodfoodshow.com.au/perth/masterclass


© The West Australian

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