Mario Batali on How to Make Pasta

By Food & Wine

Butcher's Ragu with Fusilli "The satisfaction derived from making something so delicious out of a pile of flour and eggs is incredible, and the difference between that and store-bought 'fresh' pasta is night and day," says chef, restaurateur and TV star Mario Batali. Here, the pasta master and Italian-food expert shares tips for making the best pasta.

Slideshow: Outstanding Mario Batali Recipes

1. The Secret to Light Gnocchi
First of all, choose the right potato, like russets, never a waxy or "new" potato. Work the flour into the potatoes when they are still warm, but do not knead them beyond just bringing the dough together.

2. Pasta Dough-Mixing Tips
When making pasta dough with either an electric mixer or by hand, it's better to start with a dough that's a little wetter than drier so you can add egg and flour a bit at a time until it feels right.

3. How to Cook Fresh Pasta
The biggest problem that people have is that they cook fresh pasta until it looks like it's soft enough. You need to really boil it for, like, two minutes, because that allows it to release its starch. Once each noodle has released its starch, it is free and able to do what it's supposed to do.

4. The Key to Delicious Tomato Sauce
It's all about the shopping; buy really good canned San Marzano tomatoes from Campania.

5. When to Use Low Fat Dairy
The bulk of the creaminess in my lasagna is from the béchamel, which can be easily and tastily made with skim milk. You can also use low fat or skim cheeses, but overall I recommend smaller portions rather than trying to slim down the calorie count with substitutions.

6. How to Reheat a Pasta Dish
Add a little hot water to the pan when you warm it up again; it will re-emulsify the sauce.

7. Best Salt Substitutes
I find that cutting salt is easy if I use lemon and vinegar to zip stuff up.

8. Ultimate 10-Minute Pasta from the Pantry
Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chiles. It's perfect. Sometimes I do it when I have more time, and I just don't cook for half an hour.

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(Pictured: Butcher's Ragu with Fusilli).