Kitchen Secrets: How to Cook Perfect Pasta Every Time
Most everyone loves a great pasta dish, especially when cooked at their favorite restaurant. But not everyone has an Italian grandmother to teach them authentic kitchen secrets on how to cook perfect pasta at home. If you have very discerning taste buds, then read on. This post on how to cook perfect pasta is exactly what you’ve been searching for!
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How to Cook Perfect Pasta: Let’s Talk Water
To cook a great pasta start off by filling a large pasta pot with water. Over medium/high heat, bring the water to a roiling boil. After adding in the pasta, quickly place a lid on the pot to bring the water back to a deep, bubbling boil. If the water loses it’s boil, the pasta can become mushy. Once the water is back to a full boil, remove the lid for the remainder of the cooking time.
How to Cook Perfect Pasta: What About Salt?
Absolutely add salt! Before bringing the water to a full boil, add 5 teaspoons of table salt for every gallon of water.
Note: There are many different types of salt that you can use to salt the water (kosher, sea salt, fine salt, coarse salt, etc.), and they all vary in density. Adjust the quantity of salt used to your own personal taste.
How to Cook Perfect Pasta: Let’s Discuss Oil
Never add oil to the pasta water. Never. Oil will cause your pasta to become slippery and the pasta sauce will not adhere to it. Adding oil to the boiling water is a long-standing pasta myth that just needs to disappear – like now!
How to Cook Perfect Pasta: Boiling & Stirring
After adding pasta to the boiling water, stir the pasta within the first two minutes of cooking time. This prevents the pasta from sticking together. Once the pasta starts to release its starches, sticking together is less of an issue. Refer to the package directions for recommended cooking time.
How to Cook Perfect Pasta: Reserve Some Starchy Liquid
Stand careful watch over the pasta as it cooks. When the pasta is almost ready, start tasting it at 15-second intervals. The goal is for the pasta to be almost al dente. Quickly reserve a cup or two of starchy liquid from the pot. Drain the almost cooked pasta in a colander. Don’t rinse the pasta, just shake it out.
How to Cook Perfect Pasta: When to Rinse
Never rinse pasta that is being used for hot pasta dishes! Rinsing away the starch will prevent the pasta from properly absorbing the sauce. The only time you’ll want to rinse pasta after cooking and draining is when you’re preparing a cold pasta salad. When pasta is briefly rinsed, residual starch is removed. This is fine for cold pasta dishes as less starch makes the pasta less sticky. For pasta salads, transfer the rinsed pasta to a large bowl and toss it gently with a bit of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.
Final Step: The Ultimate Cooking Secret!
Quickly place the pasta back inside the hot pot. Add in some of the starchy water along with the sauce. (The starchy water assists the pasta in absorbing the full flavor of the delicious sauce.) Using a cooking fork or spoon, stir the pasta, water and sauce vigorously. Use tight oval motions, almost as if you are whipping the pasta. This secret method causes the starch to quickly emulsify with the water and sauce releasing succulent, complex flavors. During the whipping process, cook the pasta for about two minutes or until it’s done. The end result is delicious, mouthwatering pasta that’s bursting with the essence of Italy.
You’ve just learned valuable kitchen secrets: How to cook perfect pasta every time! When your entree literally sings with Italian authenticity it’s downright culinary magic.
Do you have tips to share for how to cook perfect pasta? Let’s learn from one another. Share your kitchen secrets in the comments below. And thanks for visiting Confetti & Bliss!