What Lidia Bastianich Uses To Strain Pasta Instead Of A Colander

If you're a fan of public television cooking shows, then you're likely familiar with Lidia Bastianich, the restaurateur and cookbook author hailing from northeast Italy who has stirred together countless risottos and molded many a meatball on-air since 1998, when her first series, "Lidia's Italian Kitchen," debuted (via The Daily Meal). A compendium of knowledge about all types of Italian food, Bastianich's playful, uber-Italian grandmother persona has endeared her to many a home cook, who are likely to look to her for advice on which herb to add to fettuccine alfredo and what kind of cheese to add to pasta.

When it comes to pasta dishes, it's hard to think of a more qualified expert to look to than Bastianich, who literally wrote the book on pasta in cookbooks such as "Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine" and "Lidia's Italian Table" (per Lidia's Italy). So when this Italian cooking doyenne shares which tool she uses to strain pasta — hint: it's not a mesh colander — we listen up.

Grab this Asian kitchen tool to strain your next pot of pasta

When cooking pasta at home, what's your go-to kitchen equipment (besides a big ol' pasta pot)? For many of us, that would be some type of mesh strainer or a metal or plastic colander, which we'll turn to when it's time to drain that (hopefully perfectly al dente) pasta. But Lidia Bastianich, the Italian cooking maven whose PBS cooking show, "Lidia's Kitchen," wrapped up its ninth season in late 2021 (via IMDB), is apt to grab a tool that's more often seen in Asian kitchens.

As Bastianich told Today, her choice for straining pasta is a spider strainer, basically a small basket made out of chicken wire set at the end of a bamboo handle. Frequently used for pulling fried items out of bubbling oil or retrieving vegetables from their blanching water (via Allrecipes), spider strainers, also known as skimmers, are a must-have for Bastianich when she's pulling pasta out of its boiling water — as opposed to dumping the pot out into a colander. "Boy does that do wonders to pull pasta out of the water!" she told Today. "You just fish it out, it's easy." As Bastianich notes, this tools is best for grabbing short pasta shapes out of their pot, as long strands such as spaghetti are harder to get out.

When draining pastas such as penne or ziti, or stuffed pastas like tortellini or ravioli, you just might want to do as Lidia does, and use a spider strainer.