I am often ask how to cook pasta.
Cooking pasta is not difficult at all. There are, however, a few key points to remember so your pasta turns out perfectly each and every time. Here are my suggestions.
Cooking Pasta To Perfection
Pasta Loves Salt!
Pasta needs to be cooked in well salted water. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts of water. Taste the water if you want to make sure it is salty enough. It should taste like the sea.
Give It Room To Boil
Cook pasta in lots of water. For 1 pound of pasta use 4 quarts of water in a large pot with room for the water to boil hard after the pasta has been added.
Bring The Water To A Full Boil
Bring the water in the pasta pot to a full rolling boil before adding the pasta. Once the pasta has been added, stir immediately to prevent it from sticking.
Bring the water to a full boil again, then lower the heat a bit for the rest of the cooking time, but not so much that the boiling process stops. The pasta pot does not have to be covered during cooking. If you do cover the pot, lower the temperature a little more so it doesn’t boil over.
How To Toss Pasta
Drain the pasta well and return it to the cooking pot. If I am using spaghetti sauce or another similar kind of sauce, I always add a bit of the sauce to the pasta in the pot before I turn it out on to a serving bowl. Add enough sauce just to coat it. That way each heavenly piece of pasta will be guaranteed to taste great because it will be covered in sauce. It’s the way Italians do it.
Toss the pasta with the sauce using two large forks or spoons. Then pour it into a serving bowl and either add more sauce to the top or serve extra sauce in a separate bowl for those who want more.
Cooking Fresh Pasta
Fresh pasta takes very little time to cook, usually just 1 to 4 minutes. Read the package directions as every brand can be a bit different, but usually you will bring the water to a boil, add the fresh pasta, let the water come to a boil again, and lower the heat to medium. The pasta should be cooked when it begins to float to the top of the water.
Cooking Long Pasta
Cooking long pasta, like spaghetti, linguini or fettucine, requires a bit different handling. Hold the pasta at one end while you lower it into the boiling water. As the hot water begins to soften the spaghetti, you can push it down farther into the water without it breaking. Hold it for 30 seconds or more until you can push it all the way into the boiling water. Once the pasta is fully immersed in the water, stir to prevent it from sticking and continue to cook as per the directions above.
Cooking Stuffed Pasta
Stuffed pastas, like ravioli, require slightly more gently handling to prevent them from breaking open while cooking or getting ready to serve. Place them carefully into the boiling water and boil a bit more gently than regular pasta. When ravioli or other stuffed pasta are done, gently pour out into a colander or scoop individually with a slotted spoon.
Cooking Pasta For A Crowd
- Keep pots of water boiling. Preboil pasta until it is almost cooked, then drain and set aside in serving size piles.
- When each serving is needed, place it back into a pot of boiling water for a minute, then drain and cover with sauce.
- Using these handy tips, cooking pasta will always be easy and guaranteed to come out perfectly every time.
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