Learning how to cook pasta perfectly is the core of many great dishes. You just need a big pot with lots of boiling water, a generous amount of salt, and watch the clock as the pasta cooks. It seems very easy, right? But some of us still can’t achieve a perfectly cooked pasta.
That’s why in this article, I will share my tips to help you out.
Let’s start cooking
Spaghetti, mac n’ cheese, and carbonara – these are just a few of the most popular pasta dishes all over the world. Pasta is a very simple ingredient. You can pair it with just about any kind of spices, protein, and flavors. And because of these possibilities, so many of our weeknight dinners start with noodles.
But for how simple it is, there is an art to cooking pasta perfectly. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not very easy to cook, especially if you want to make sure that it’s al dente. But don’t worry. With a few simple tweaks, you can take your pasta dishes to the next level.
1. Choose your cookware
Pasta can be cooked in just about any cookware. It can be a small pot, Dutch oven, or large pot – it depends on what type of dish you’re making. But if you’re going to boil it, use an extra deep pot. This will help ensure that the noodles can submerge fully as soon as possible.
2. Salt it up
When adding salt, make sure that the water is already boiling. Don’t add it immediately because salted water takes longer to boil. Once you’ve added enough salt, get the pasta ready. Don’t worry too much about the sodium content because the pasta will only absorb the salty flavor. If it’s your first time to cook pasta, try adding a tablespoon of salt per 4 quarts of water.
3. Bring water to a complete boil
It is harmless to add the pasta before the water boils. However, it can turn mushy, soft, or sticky. So, bring the water to a complete boil first. Always remember that cooking pasta takes patience. Resist the urge to add it to the pot early.
4. Stir first
Don’t forget to stir the pot of boiling water before adding the pasta. You should also stir it occasionally so that the noodles won’t stick together while cooking. Don’t leave it on the stove unattended to prevent clumps. The noodles should swirl and free to move.
5. Taste the noodles sooner
Each type of pasta comes with a different cook time, so check the packaging of the pasta you’re going to use. This is tricky, though. What if you’re cooking at high heat? Should you still follow the instructions on the packaging?
I have a suggestion. Try examining the pasta’s doneness after a couple minutes. Get a single strand using a fork, let it cool, and taste it. If the pasta already has a chewy, springy bounce on its texture, then it’s good to go. But if you want it softer, you can cook it for a bit longer.
6. Drain, prepare, and serve
Use a colander to drain your pasta, but make sure to save a scoop of pasta water. Put the pasta into the pan and toss to coat it evenly with sauce. Then, serve it hot. If you think that your pasta is a bit undercooked, put it back in the pot, pour your saved pasta water, add the sauce, and cook over medium-high heat.
You’re now an expert in boiling pasta. But don’t limit yourself to just boiling. There are other methods that you can use to cook pasta perfectly. You can also steam or microwave it – just find the best recipe online. Good luck!