Do's and Don'ts For Cooking Good Pasta

Different Pasta Dishes Cooking pasta is not that difficult, however cooking GOOD pasta (or even great pasta!) can be a bit trickier. There are also many misconceptions about what you should do to perfect that awesome pasta. DO: Salt the Water...

Different Pasta Dishes
Different Pasta Dishes

Cooking pasta is not that difficult, however cooking GOOD pasta (or even great pasta!) can be a bit trickier. There are also many misconceptions about what you should do to perfect that awesome pasta.

DO:

  1. Salt the Water - Add about a tablespoon of salt per pound of pasta. This will give the pasta some flavor. Keep in mind in the future you may need to adjust this amount to suit your preference.
  2. Keep the Water Boiling - By keeping the water at a rapid boil, it will help keep the pasta from sticking.
  3. Stirring - Stir every so often to prevent sticking.
  4. Mix Immediately - Mix your pasta immediately with the sauce once you have drained it. Letting the pasta sit will make it stick together and then it won't taste as good.

DON'T:

  1. Adding Oil to Water - While this can keep the water from getting foamy, it doesn't necessarily prevent sticking. In other words, don't add oil and expect to not have to stir or take any other precautions for keeping your pasta from sticking.
  2. Rinse Pasta After Cooking - This can not only cut down the flavor, but can make your pasta cold and watery.
  3. Use Non-boiling water - Always wait until the water is boiling to add the pasta. Putting it in early will overcook your pasta.
  4. Use Two Types of Pasta - It isn't a good idea to cook two different shapes of pasta together unless they are very similar. Different pasta requires different cooking time and some can withstand a harder boil than others.

Don't be afraid to sample your pasta before you drain it to ensure that it is done. While people can have different opinions on what 'good' pasta tastes like, tasting a piece can let you know. You can find out if it is hard, or chewy, or tender and well cooked. Another way to test to see if your pasta is done is to cut a piece in half. This works better for thicker pasta but if you look at the inside you can see if there is a difference in color and texture. If pasta is done, it will have the same shade and texture.

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