How many times a week do you eat pasta? In my household, you’d think we were Italian because I have this stuff almost every freakin day! I love it! The perfect pasta is termed AlDente which means it is firm to the bite aka cooked perfectly! Not too soggy. Not too chalky or hard. There is nothing worse than overcooked pasta, it simply ruins the meal. Here a
re some tips to get that perfect al dente pasta.
1.) Always make sure you cook pasta in a large pot with plenty of water. Pasta needs room to move around freely. The general rule is to use 5-6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
2.) Once the water comes to a hard boil add about 2 Tablespoons of salt
3.) Add the pasta and return to a hard boil. You can place the lid back on the pot to help it come to a boil fast but remove it as soon as it starts to boil to prevent the pasta from boiling over.
4.) To keep pasta from sticking stir constantly within the first 1 or 2 minutes ONLY. Cook as per box directions.
5.)When you get close to the end of the estimated cooking time, taste the pasta. If it is done, it should have a nice al dente bite and taste like pasta. If it is undercooked, it will have a stiff and chalky center, if it’s overcooked your noodles will be limp and soggy. Remember, once you decide the pasta is done, it will take you several seconds to turn off the burner, lift the pot and pour the contents into the colander. During this time, the pasta continues to cook, so begin testing for doneness 2-3 minutes before the end of the suggested cooking time.
What NOT to do:
* Do not add oil. I use to do this because it I thought it kept my noodles from sticking. It results in a noodle that does not allow the sauce to adhere to it. To prevent sticking just stir constantly during the first 1 to 2 minutes of cooking. This is when the gluten-like starch is released that causes the pasta to stick to one another.
* Do not wait until the pasta has cooled down to add the sauce. Hot pasta absorbs the sauce. Many seasoned Italian chefs will tell you to add that pasta to the hot sauce immediately so that it will absorb the flavors. Yummy!!!
*Do not rinse the pasta, unless you are making a cold pasta dish. The starch on the hot pasta will help the sauce cling to it.
A Handy Dandy Al DenteCooking Method
I found this method on Americas Test Kitchen website (I’m always on the hunt for the best)and it guarantees a perfect Al Dente pasta every single time without having to constantly check your pasta or steam up your kitchen. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it had over 200 positive reviews so I thought it was worthy enough to be posted on my site. I’m anxious to try this technique.
Step 1.) Boil water in large pot and add salt
Step 2.) When water is at a hard boil add pasta
Step 3.) Turn off the heat, remove the pan from the burner and place a lid on the pot.
Step 4.) Set timer for 15 minutes
Step 5.) Once 15 minutes is reached, drain off the water.
You should now have perfect al dente pasta!
Happy Pasta Eating!!!