Considering that pasta is one of the most popular foods in the world, you’ve probably made it a time or two during the course of your life. For most people, pasta is a quick and simple dinner solution, especially when you’re on a budget. Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that they’ve most likely been cooking pasta the wrong way for their entire lives. While pasta is a relatively easy thing to make, there are a few tricks that you may need to make sure that you’re cooking it the right way. Keep reading to find out if you’ve been cooking pasta wrong this whole time and what steps you can take to change your pasta-making ways.
How to Boil the Noodles
1. A little fun fact: pasta needs a whole lot of room to move around, or it will clump together, which no one wants. So you most definitely want to use a large pot any time you make pasta or you could end up with a mushy mess. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for you to fill the pot about ⅔ of the way full.
2. Place the pot onto the stove and turn the burner on to high. Make sure that you cover the pot with a lid before you walk away. Allow the water to come to a nice boil, and when you start to see steam coming out of the lid, you’ll know that it’s all done boiling.
3. Once the water comes to a boil, add in one tablespoon of salt and one pound of pasta into the water.
4. The next thing you’ll want to do is stir the pasta with a fork. This will prevent the pasta from clumping together. You can go ahead and set a timer for three to eight minutes, or you can look at the directions on the box of pasta to see how long they should cook for. If you’ve had plenty of experience in the pasta-cooking department, then you might just be able to look at the pasta to see that it’s done, but if not, refer to the next few steps.
5. It’s important to stir the noodles every so often as they boil. Also, make sure that the water stays at a steady boil the entire time. But if the water does look like it’s going to boil over, then turn the heat down to medium-high.
6. Once the timer goes off, take a noodle out of the water and set it to the side. After it’s had a second to cool, take a bite of it to see if it’s done. Typically, people prefer their pasta done al dente, which means that it’s a little firm in the middle, but you can obviously cook it for as long as you’d like. If the pasta isn’t cooked enough for your liking, then you can leave it on the stove for another minute or so before you try another piece.
Draining the Pasta
1. The first thing you’ll want to do is scoop out one cup of the pasta water and set it to the side. Make sure that you do this carefully, as the water will be extremely hot.
2. Place a colander in the sink. Carefully grab the pot from the sink and bring it over to the colander.
3. Slowly pour the pasta into the colander in your sink. Gently shake the pasta to drain out the water by grabbing the sides of the colander.
4. Some people choose to run cold water or a little bit of olive oil over their noodles. While this isn’t a bad idea, it does prevent sauce from sticking to the noodles, so only do this if you don’t plan on using sauce.
5. Once the water has been drained out of the pasta, put the cooked pasta back into the pot.
6. Now, it’s time to add your favorite pasta sauce into the mix.
Since you have a better idea of how to properly cook pasta, let’s take a little time to look at some delicious pasta dishes that you could incorporate into your next family dinner.
Bucatini All’ Amatriciana
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ pound pancetta or bacon
1 medium yellow chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup red wine
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1.2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1. Heat up a large iron cast pot on medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Saute the pancetta for about five minutes. Add in the onion and garlic. Allow it to saute for another three minutes. Add in the wine and let it deglaze the pan. Add in the sea salt, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, and add in the tomato paste. Stir until the tomato paste dissolves.
2. Lower the heat on the over. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Once it’s done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
3. Puree the pancetta and the onions using an emulsifier. Do this until the sauce is nice and smooth. Once it’s done, add oregano and any other seasonings you’d like to use.
4. Now is when you’ll want to use your freshly obtained knowledge about cooking pasta. Remember to use a big pot and taste test before you take it off of the heat.
5. Simmer until you’re ready to enjoy it.
Just as you most likely suspected, there isn’t too much that goes into cooking pasta the right way. As long as you remember to use a big enough pot and stir frequently, then you shouldn’t run into any type of issue. If you do run into an issue, like cooking the pasta for too long, then you can always read the directions to clarify the cooking time and start again. After all, it’s inexpensive enough that you can mess up a few times before you get it right!