How To Cook Pasta

Some cooking tips for perfect pasta:
  • Follow the exact cooking time written on the pasta package to avoid overcooking it. The manufacturer has spent a lot of time testing optimum cooking times for each individual pasta shape.
  • Use a large stock pot that can hold about 1 quart of water per 100 grams of pasta. When in doubt, use more water rather than less to cook thoroughly. Too little water will cause the pasta to stick. together.
  • Add salt (10 grams per quart of water) when the water starts to boil. Wait until the water comes to a rolling boil before adding the pasta.
  • The pasta must be immersed all at once. Immediately stir thoroughly with a fork or a wooden spoon. Bring the water back to a boil. Stir regularly to avoid sticking.
  • Its important to make sure the water is kept boiling at all times.
  • Taste the pasta for al-dente doneness. When you are not quite sure if the pasta is cooked or not (not hard, not soft) it is ready; drain completely, add sauce and serve right away while it's still piping hot. Generally, I find that following cooking time directions on the package is crucial.
  • I have never seen an Italian adding oil to the pasta water. It makes it slippery, which may interfere with the sauce you have prepared. Regular stirring is more than enough to prevent sticking. Another practice to avoid is rinsing the pasta in cold water when you drain it. But why would you want to make a hot dish cold?
Dressing the pasta

Most people think the pasta is just there to absorb the sauce. That depends on what pasta you bought and probably applies to most supermarket pasta. Our opinion is that if you have a really good pasta or a great egg pasta like the Spinosi, then you want to savor the taste of the pasta as well as the sauce. In that case, you want to keep the sauce to a minimum. A great quality pasta is exquisite with some butter and Parmesan cheese (and maybe some grated truffles on top) or with olive oil, garlic and red peppers. Sometimes simplicity is hard to beat, especially if you are looking for the true taste of Italy.
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