As far as the sauce was concerned (see below), we added about a glass worth of red wine right after the veggies were softened and smelling yummy and before we tossed in the tomatoes. It gave an extra kick and a bit of depth to it all.
Now here are our 9 no-brake rules for cooking a pot of dried pasta:
1. Use a LOT of water.
2. Use a LOT of sea salt. We have heard how those crazy sea-side Italians go down to the ocean with their pot and scoop up the real deal. We throw at least three heaped table spoons of salt in there. And when no one is looking a fourth.
3. Respect the pasta.
4. Stirr. And Stirr. And Stirr.
5. Keep it boiling
6. Munch on cheese while you wait.
7. Time the extraction just right. Best way is to have Lily keep testing a piece when you think it's getting close. She calls it just before they are tilting to soft. They are still a bit on the hard side before we pull them out. We don't want them to end up all mushy.
8. Keep them from cooking any further after you drained them as good as you can. Serve them right away.
9. If we don't mix them with other ingredients we add a dash of olive oil to keep them loose and flirtatious.
Mmmh. Everybody's mood turned up a notch tonight.