Want to create your own dine-in experience? While we can't give you the full restaurant feel, our chefs here at Blackstone want to give you our best advice for cooking pasta on the Blackstone--just like your favorite Italian eatery.
1) Boil your pasta until it is al dente
Cooking your pasta until it's still slightly firm will help it hold its shape better and prevent breakage or tearing once you transfer it to your griddle. In addition, it will help the pasta reach a perfect doneness once you remove it from your griddle, as the pasta will continue to cook on your griddle.
When you transfer your pasta to your griddle, don't completely strain it--use a slotted spoon so that you keep a little of the starchy water. That water will add flavor, but more importantly, it will help bind the pasta and pasta sauce together and thicken your sauce.
PRO TIP: You can put a pot of water directly on your griddle top to boil pasta if you want to boil it outside and don't have a side burner.
2) Make your sauce count -- and make it thick
If you are making a pasta sauce, make sure to keep it thick. Thicker sauces will stick to the pasta better, which is especially important if you're adding your sauce to your pasta on the griddle. Some general tips for the best Italian-style sauces are:
- For a red sauce, start by sautéing the aromatics (either garlic or onion) in hot oil (preferably a good olive oil) before you add anything else. Cook until the color starts to change, then add your tomatoes and cook down.
- For white sauce, sauté garlic and mushrooms in a good olive oil until soft, then add chicken broth mixed with corn starch (1 TBSP corn starch per 1 c broth) and cook until it boils, then turn down the heat and add a little cream.
Food for thought: Good olive oils aren't available in grocery stores. You can find them in specialty stores or can it get imported. If you are ordering oil online, purchase olive oil from California, as imported oils from Europe tend to be the lowest quality of the press.
3) Get a good sear on your meat
Just about the worst thing for pasta is dry, tough meat. Establishing a good sear on the outside will help lock in moisture and keep your meats flavorful. The best thing about cooking pasta on your Blackstone is that it's easy to get that good sear--and you can do it while working on the rest of your dish, too.
4) Good cheese matters
Any pre-shredded or bottled in a shaker Parmesan cheese isn't going to do your pasta any favors. We recommend fresh, hand grated, slightly aged Parmesan to garnish your pasta. Any pre-shredded Parmesan is going to loose its texture and its complex, nutty flavor profile.
5) Keep it fresh
It's nice to eat food that tastes as fresh. Fresh herbs are going to pack more flavor than dried, so if you have the option, we recommend choosing fresh. To give a brighter flavor, don't be afraid to put some fresh tomato slices with your white sauce, or enjoy your pasta with a salad on the side.
Want some inspiration? Our recipes are a great starting point! Try our fresh Pasta Primavera recipe, or our creamy Chicken Piccata Pasta.