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AROUND HOME : Notes on Perfect Pasta, Closet Space and French Empire Furniture : The Perfect Pasta Basket

IF YOU’VE BEEN cooking a lot of pasta lately--and who hasn’t?--there’s something you ought to know about: a special basket made especially for preparing pasta. It makes something pretty simple even easier.

No matter how carefully you drain cooked pasta out of the pot, a few strands always manage to stick tenaciously to the sides. The pasta basket--made entirely of mesh so that boiling water circulates completely through it--eliminates that problem. Measuring 6 3/4 inches high and 7 3/4 inches in diameter, it fits easily into any large pot. Simply fill the pot with water and slip the basket in. When the water comes to a boil, you add the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, you take the pot to the sink, lift the basket out by the handle and empty its contents into a bowl. The mesh is fine enough so that pasta of any shape, no matter how small, will not slip through.

So next time you make capellini , you can sit down to dinner secure in the knowledge that you don’t have to face the irritating task of scraping off little bits of pasta. (The pasta basket is made in Italy, naturally--a country that never ceases its search for pasta perfection.)

The pasta basket, $16, is available at Williams-Sonoma in the Beverly Center, Los Angeles, and at all other Williams-Sonoma stores.

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