WIN a copy of How To Cook Pasta Properly by Paul Foster

The Staff Canteen

Michelin-starred chef Paul Foster provides everything you need to know about Pasta with a fantastic range of recipes and resources, for professional chefs and home cooks alike, with his new book How to Cook Pasta Properly.

Representing the second in a series of how-to cookbooks, following on from his triumphant ‘How To Cook Meat Properly’, Paul Foster Chef Owner of the 1 Michelin-starred Salt, and GrassFed, offers readers the definitive guide on pasta and how to cook it properly.

A copy of How To Cook Pasta Properly
Paul Foster

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"This book is second in a series of six books that I'm writing. I chose to do pasta next because it's a passion of mine, and I wanted it to fit into the same format of being an educational book on a number of platforms,” Paul explained.

Discussing the book’s background, Paul revealed: "I wanted the book to have a lot more quality, a lot more content, and a much bigger reach, so it is suitable for keen home cooks and chefs.”

"I've got a lot of recipes from over the years, a lot of them are quite fine dining and I didn't want too much of that, so I thought along the lines of what's traditional, what's classic, what do we serve in the restaurant, or what is really nice and homely,” he said.

How To Cook Pasta Properly

Unlike a lot of cookbooks, How To Cook Pasta Properly represents a 14 month long development process with Paul embarking upon a mouth-watering tour of Italy, where he collected recipes, compared different techniques with some Italy’s most respected names in Pasta, and studied the origins behind some of the most iconic pasta dishes in the world.

"I did all of the development, all of the research, I went out to Bologna and Modena, the latter was a part of Italy that I had not visited before. I was researching, doing food tours, eating in restaurants, speaking to chefs, speaking to food historians and getting as much detail as I can,” he said.

Flicking through the book, readers are treated to beautiful shot imagery positioned next to legendary dish after legendary dish, with each page revealing the secrets behind creating pasta that transcend the ordinary.

"With each recipe, I don't just give readers the recipe, the photo and the method, the book gives them a bit of history, information, or the reason why I've done that dish, giving everything a bit of background especially on classics,” Paul explained.

From beginner-friendly recipes to advanced culinary masterpieces, Paul's latest masterpiece caters to a spectrum of skills and tastes, a deliberate distinction that the chef was keen to provide.

Paul Foster’s Best Pasta Recipes

With the finesse of a seasoned chef and the passion of a true pasta enthusiast, Paul unveils a collection that promises to redefine the way we approach this beloved staple, resonating with the rich flavors of Italy and Paul's unparalleled expertise.

Every dish is a work of art, carefully crafted to inspire and guide both amateurs and seasoned chefs through the intricate dance of pasta perfection.

Discussing his favourite recipe in the book for home cooks, Paul said: “I’d say the carbonara recipe. It’s something that I love anyway, it’s such a beautiful dish. I wrote a story in there about how I went to Rome, the whole reason why I went to Rome was to try one chef's carbonara and then I filled the rest of the trip around that.”

Picking out his favourite recipe for professional chefs, Paul chose his incredible egg yolk ravioli recipe, which plays homage to Italian pasta culture.

Discussing the recipe in more detail, Paul explained: “It’s probably the most technical recipe in the book. I wanted to use the colours of the Italian flag, so I made a tricoloured pasta, so tomato, spinach and the white pasta to emulate the flag.”

Paul added: “It’s then filled with a truffle ricotta, the egg yolk in there blanched, it’s very technical because you don’t want to break the yolk, and then you have to cook it perfectly so it just runs, and it’s got hazelnuts, beurre noisette, fresh parmesan, prosciutto ham. It’s a technical restaurant-y dish but beautiful when it’s cooked right.”

A personal favourite of Paul’s was his Bolognese recipe, which he explains has already divided opinion on social media, with the iconic pasta dish being one of the most varied pasta recipes in the world.

Discussing the controversy around his recipe, Paul said: "I felt like I had to put one [Bolognese recipe] out there because it is a quite a controversial dish. I actually put it on TikTok a couple of weeks ago and it’s had a million views, it was really controversial! I had so many people me I was wrong and so many people telling me I was right."

Talking about the difficulties in creating a Bolognese recipe, he said: "I’ve made hundreds of Bologneses in my life, as a kid, at home, for staff food, but I’ve never followed a recipe so I had to develop a recipe for it, which was quite strange having to weigh out a Bolognese."

Elaborating on his recipe and the differences in the dish, Paul said: "The method I always had is based on traditional elements from Bologna but there’s recipes in Bologna where there’s no tomato, some where they use milk, some where they don’t, sometimes it differs between family to family, region to region, but it is all based from there and it is all served with flat pasta."

"Everyone can associate with pasta"

Discussing the challenges of putting the book together, Paul explained that due to the sheer volume of Pasta recipes, as well as different iterations and variations, deciding which recipes were to be included and the process behind them created some difficulties for him.

"The most challenging thing was narrowing it down. Pasta is endless in what you can do depending on the style of dish. I wrote in the book about how it's an amazing food because it can be the most humbling food with really poor families, or it can be in a three Michelin Star restaurant,” Paul explained.

He added: "Everyone can associate with pasta. Wherever you're from, whatever social class you are, everyone can associate. So, narrowing it down and making sure that everything worked together, having a Bolognese, a puttinesca, and a spaghetti and tomato sauce in there as well as a scallop ravioli or a really technical egg yolk raviolo, just making that work was the biggest challenge."

Paul's How To Cook Pasta Properly is more than a cookbook; it's an invitation to embark on a culinary adventure.

Brimming with expert tips, captivating guidance, and a celebration of great flavours, this book is set to become an indispensable companion for those who appreciate the art of pasta and the joy of cooking.

Whether you're a passionate home cook or a seasoned professional, let Paul guide you through the enchanting world of pasta with his latest creation.

How To Cook Pasta Properly is not just a book; it's a gastronomic masterpiece that promises to elevate the culinary expertise of any chef, regardless of experience.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th December 2023

WIN a copy of How To Cook Pasta Properly by Paul Foster