Have you been making mushy pasta? Have you been making crunchy pasta? Have you quit making pasta, because you don’t do it well enough to want to eat the results? The guide will save your dinner plans!
Anyone can make perfect pasta. Here are the tips you need to cook fabulous pasta dishes at home, every time…
Use the right pot ~
Pasta cooks in moving water, so you need a pot big enough for it to move around in. Many people unconsciously choose a smaller pot, perhaps because they think it will be easier to clean. But that small pot will boil away its water too fast, leaving your noodles to touch the sides and bottom of the pot. Then they start to burn against the pot, and dinner is ruined. So use a nice big pot, and give your noodles plenty of room to swim.
Wait for a rolling boil ~
Never rush to put your noodles into the pot before the water is truly ready. Excellent pasta cooks in boiling water. Not just-stating-to-boil water, it needs constantly-bubbling boiling water. Wait until your water works up a solid rolling boil before you add your pasta. Try adding a dash of salt to your water to lower the boiling point a bit. Once the noodles are in, keep the temperature high enough to maintain that rolling boil throughout the cooking time.
Use a timer ~
Lots of foods can be cooked ‘by eye’. Pasta is not one of them! Read the package your pasta came in to find the correct cooking time. Different shapes and brands of pasta will have different coking times, so check every time to be sure you’re using the correct times. Then set a timer. Even a minute or two of cooking time can make a huge difference in how your pasta comes out, so don’t risk forgetting about it while it’s cooking, and coming back to find a pot of mush.
Throw pasta at a wall ~
Yes, this really does work! You can test pasta for doneness by throwing a piece of it at the wall. If it sticks, it’s done! Of course, you could also taste it to test for doneness, but that wouldn’t be as dramatic. Try this test when you have guests, and tell them that all the greatest pasta chefs do it this way. They’ll be very impressed.
Use an ice bath ~
Pasta will continue to cook, even after you’ve removed it from the boiling water. You can stop that by dumping your fully cooked pasta into a bath of ice water. If you are planing on serving the pasta plain, you should skip this step, (unless you plan to serve it plain and cold). If you’re planning to serve any sort of sauce over your pasta, simple heat the sauce separately, and then add it the the pasta. That will warm the pasta right back up to eating temperature.
Serve promptly ~
Never allow your warm pasta to sit for any longer than absolutely necessary before being served. The pasta will start turning mushy, and some types will even start to get a ‘crusty’ texture to the outer bits. Pasta needs to be prepared as come to serving time as possible, so that it can be served at the peak of perfection.
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