Pasta is a quick and easy meal. But it’s easy to get wrong. Not enough cooking time and you’ll end up with crispy noodles, and not in a good way. Cook the noodles too long and you can end up with a starchy, gloppy, tangled mess. Not ideal for the “romantic” puttanesca you planned on making for your date. Follow these steps and you’ll have perfect pasta every time.
What you’ll need:
Water, large pot, pasta, salt, tongs, colander
- Boil water in a large pot. To make sure pasta doesn’t stick together, use at least 4 pints of water for every 8 ounces of pasta. Make sure that the water is at a fast, fierce, rolling boil before you add the pasta.
- Salt the water with at least a tablespoon of salt. The salty water adds flavor to the pasta.
- Pour pasta into boiling water. If you are using a long pasta, don’t break it; push it against the bottom of the pot and as you feel it give, keep pushing. It will soften up and collapse to fit in the pot within 30 seconds.
- Keep the lid off. The water will return to a boil fairly quickly. Do not put a lid on the pot, the lid will cause the water to boil over
- As the pasta starts to cook, stir it well with the tongs so the noodles don’t stick to each other —or the pot.
- Different pastas will take different amounts of time to cook. Use the directions on the package as your guideline. As a general rule dried pastas will be done in 10-12 minutes, but start checking doneness at 8 minutes, then again at 9 minutes, etc. Just pull a piece out and taste or check the texture.
- Always taste a strand or piece of pasta before draining to make sure the texture is right. Pasta cooked properly should be al dente — a little chewy.
- Drain cooked pasta in a colander. No need to drain it too thoroughly, a few drops of cooking water will keep the pasta moist.
- Add sauce right away and serve.