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1. Pots and water
Cooking pasta in a large pot with lots of water (more than you think you need) lets the pasta move freely and the water flow evenly around it for uniform cooking. For 12 oz (340 g) pasta, bring 16 cups water to boil.
Adding salt to the boiling water just before adding the pasta brings out its natural flavour. However, if sodium is a concern, omit or reduce it as necessary.
Cook pasta until al dente, or tender but firm. Properly cooked pasta has a toothsome chew. To check doneness, remove a piece from the water and let it cool slightly. If it holds its shape and has a tiny white speck in the centre, it’s ready.
All about pastas: How to cook, serve and store different pastas
Always reserve some of the cooking liquid to toss with the pasta and sauce at the end. This helps coat the pasta evenly and adds a boost of flavour from the salted water.
Don’t rinse cooked pasta. It removes all the starch from the surface of each piece, and the starch is part of what makes the sauce adhere to the pasta. The only exception is pasta salad; the pasta should be rinsed under cold water to stop the cooking, then immediately tossed with olive oil to prevent clumping.
Serve immediately. Cooked pasta continues to cook and absorb sauce as it sits, so for best results, serve it right away and enjoy.
Now that you know the secrets for cooking perfect pasta, why not try out your new skills and impress your friends and family with these delicious summer pasta recipes?
|This story was originally titled "Easy Authentic Pastas" in the May 2013 issue. |
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