The Specific Method Giada De Laurentiis Uses To Add Cheese To Pasta

When it comes to Italian cooking, pasta and cheese are a classic duo. Whether cheese is emulsified in pasta water to create a luscious sauce for cacio e pepe or added at the end to melt into pasta simmering in a tomato sauce, these two ingredients create a harmonious pairing. But for former Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, there's a specific method to add cheese to pasta that her nonno, or grandfather, taught her, which enhances the savory umami of say a Parmigiano Reggiano into every forkful.

With many pasta dishes, a standard technique entails pasta coming out of the boiling water, finishing cooking in a simmering sauce with starchy pasta water, and having cheese folded into it once it is removed from the heat. Nonno's method, which Giada shared with Williams Sonoma, adds one more step between the first and second. Giada' grandfather, Dino De Laurentiis, grated cheese over pasta after it came out of the water — still hot — and before being tossed in the sauce. Nonno's way of making pasta imbues the cheese's savory, salty, and rich flavor directly onto the noodles for another dimension of flavor.

A Neapolitan-style of adding cheese

Giada' grandfather's method integrates cheese into the pasta dish before the American style of topping sauced pasta with cheese at the end. With this Neapolitan style of pasta making, the melted cheese on the outside of the noodles almost acts as a sauce magnet. "You add the cheese [to] the pasta," Giada told Williams Sonoma, "and, that way, the sauce sticks to the cheese, which sticks to the pasta."

Dino knew a thing or two about pasta. While the late Oscar award-winning film producer was known for movies like 1956's "La Strada" and 1976's "King Kong", he came from a pasta family. He was the son of a pasta maker in Naples, Italy, and sold spaghetti across the country as a teenager before leaving the family business to attend film school, despite his father's disapproval.

However, this cheese method is one thing Dino learned and took with him as he made a successful career on the silver screen and passed it down to his granddaughter. Try Giada's nonno's pasta style with your favorite sauce and add even more Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino Romano at the end for a more delicious bite.