How To Make The Perfect Pasta Dish, According To Nancy Silverton - Exclusive

When it comes to whipping up the very best pasta, pizza, and bread, you can't go wrong taking some advice from Nancy Silverton. The culinary powerhouse has worked with renowned chefs like Wolfgang Puck to change the way Americans view food, opened multiple successful California restaurants, and received a variety of accolades and awards throughout her career (via Pizzeria Mozza). The chef took her ethos with her when she appeared on "MasterChef: Legends" as a guest judge and espoused the importance of fresh ingredients and what it takes to make great pasta, per Foodsided.

Many great cooks feel the heat when asked to serve up some homemade pasta, and Silverton posed this simple yet challenging task during her appearance on the "MasterChef" episode, pushing each chef to their limit. Thanks to Silverton's discerning eye, an ultimate pasta dish emerged from the competition and viewers at home took a deep look into what it takes to make springy noodles with the perfect taste and texture. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Silverton went into even more depth about what home cooks need to know when they want to whip up a batch of pasta from scratch.

The three essential elements of any good pasta

Pasta's simplicity means that you don't have many cooking elements to worry about. At first glance, this sounds like great news, but according to Silverton, this means chefs can't hide behind any tricks, and their pasta could fall flat. "You know, there's not that many things [to look for], as long as you, as the one that's making a pasta, follows the essentials," Silverton said. "And I think the essentials in a pasta dish are, well, number one is that the noodle is the star."

"So forget everything else," Silverton continued. "That noodle is the star. And, you see that, time after time in Italian restaurants for sure. And so, using that noodle as a start, it's not a vehicle [to] clean out your refrigerator ... pasta is the star and the sauce needs to complement the shape. So the shape dictates what that sauce should be, whether it's a butter sauce with a fresh noodle, or whether it's a sauce like a Ragu that needs to get caught up in the long strands, or whether it's a chunky sauce that needs to get caught in the folds and the divots of a pasta, but it all matters. It all matters, and it's so obvious in the finished product ... And then, I think the third thing that's just so important is the relationship or the amount of sauce to noodle." There you have it: focus on your noodle, choose the best sauce for your shape, and have the correct sauce to noodle ratio, and you'll be a star pasta chef in no time!

Make sure to catch new episodes of "MasterChef: Legends" every Wednesday on FOX, and catch Silverton's appearance to get a whole new appreciation for the humble noodle.