Quicker Pasta Pick-Up

By Amelia Schwartz | Jaclyn Warren


Amelia Schwartz
Jaclyn Warren
Chef Freedom Rains' Carrot Rigatoni, Braised Rabbit, and Pea Tendril
Chef Freedom Rains' Carrot Rigatoni, Braised Rabbit, and Pea Tendril

Flour, the occasional egg, and water. The ingredients for pasta are simple, but the execution certainly isn’t. From proper storage to cook time, there are many variables that leave room for inconsistency. This is especially true for a large Italian restaurant like San Francisco’s A Mano that serves more than 300 bowls of pasta per night. Thankfully, Chef Freedom Rains has found a way to combat these inconsistencies, saving time along the way.

While working at Incanto under Chris Cosentino, Rains learned that fresh pasta does not need to be dried all the way in order to obtain the perfect al dente. “We toss the dough with semolina, lay it out uncovered, and let the air circulate around it until it’s almost dry but not completely,” says Rains. He then sticks it in a Traulsen refrigerator, left just above freezing at 36℉. No matter if the pasta is hand-cut or extruded, this method ensures a quicker pickup time (6 minutes instead of the regular 11 minutes for dried pasta) and a guaranteed toothsomeness. When the kitchen is cranking, the technique saves Rains’ crew a whopping 5 minutes per pick-up, and guests may bow their heads toward a steaming bowl of pasta far faster than they may have expected.   

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