The Most Difficult Pasta To Get Right, According To Joe Bastianich - Exclusive

If his mother, Lidia Bastianich, is a pasta queen, "MasterChef" judge Joe Bastianich has certainly inherited her noodle knowledge. The restaurateur opened his first Italian restaurant, Becco, alongside Queen B (Lidia, not Beyonce) in 1993. He has since dedicated his life to the art of great pasta, opening 29 more restaurants in partnership with his mother.

Don't say we didn't warn you. Present Bastianich with a plate of pasta on "MasterChef," and you better know what you're doing. As fans of the show doubtless know, Bastainich has no problem being devastatingly critical, and pasta — after all — is his raison d'être. Wannabe Massimo Botturas who dare to prepare a noodle dish for Bastainich despite our warnings, should steer clear of fresh pasta. The culinary star revealed to Mashed in a recent exclusive interview that he considers cooked dry pasta among the hardest dishes to perfect. "On the show, sometimes there's dry pasta and there's fresh pasta, and that's like apples and oranges," Bastainich told us. "People think that making a fresh pasta somehow is better than dry pasta, but cooking a dry pasta without any egg in it perfectly is one of the most difficult things to do. I'm always very impressed when I get an excellent dry pasta, and the simpler, the better." In particular, Bastianch revealed that he's a sucker for dry pasta cooked with clam sauce. If you go that route, follow his advice and add the wine at the right time.

Adding wine to pasta sauce is a 'double-edged sword' per Bastianich

Follow Mashed's recipe for an easy white clam sauce if you're not sure where to start. The ingredient list is deceptively simple: olive oil, garlic, minced clams (and their juice), parsley, lemon zest, and — naturally — white wine. It's the wine you want to be careful with, because — as Joe Bastainich told us — "cooking with wine is a double-edged sword." While the "acidity, minerality, and some sort of fruit extraction" that wine can lend to pasta dishes is nothing short of delicious, if you don't burn the alcohol off correctly, you're in for an "off-putting" dish with a "negative" flavor profile, per Bastianich.

The "MasterChef" judge gave us two ways to avert disaster with wine-based pasta sauces. First, add pasta to your dish "sooner rather than later" to burn off all objectionable flavors."When you're sauteing your mirepoix — or at any point — you've got to make sure that you have a pan at some point that's hot enough that the alcohol will burn out of the wine," Bastianch specified. If you've forgotten to add your wine on time, don't add it directly to your sauce. Instead, go with option two. "Burn the alcohol out of a wine in another pan and then add it in," the pasta connoisseur suggested.