Pasta is one of the better foods out there that is very delicious and relatively easy to make. Who doesn’t know how to make yourself some pasta with cheese, right? However there are still many little tips and tricks for boiling pasta that we should all keep in mind.
As you can see in our articles The best lasagna recipe and especially Types of pasta noodles, we love pasta. And we want to know all the right tips to cook it properly.
In this article we have combined a list of all of the most important tips and tricks for boiling pasta that everybody should know.
Important to know the term Al Dente
“Al dente” doesn’t just mean a funny combination of words in Italian. In this country, it is almost a sacred rule to cook pasta until “al dente”, which translates to “to the bite” or “to the tooth”. In practice, this means cooking the pasta until it is still slightly hard to the bite. If the pasta is cooked too long, it will absorb more water and become too soft.
One of the best ways to check if the pasta is done is to take the pasta out of the pot with a fork and taste it. The Italians even recommend shaking it in your hands to cool it down faster.
One of the ancient methods of testing pasta for readiness is to throw it against a wall. If the butter pasta sticks to the wall, it’s ready. If the pasta falls on the floor and the dog eats it, it is not ready yet. 🙂
8 pasta tips and tricks
So here are all the most important tips and tricks for boiling pasta the right way.
1. Use a lot of water
You need to use a lot of water to properly cook pasta. Almost five liters of water and a 10-liter pot are needed for 450 grams of pasta. Pasta, like tango dancers, need space to move freely. If the pot is not big enough, it remains only to boil the pasta two pieces at a time.
2. Use salt
Salt is needed in the water not only to enhance the taste of the pasta, but also to help it absorb the added sauce. Two teaspoons of salt will be enough for five liters of water.
3. Do not use oil
Oil is for salad, not pasta water! Oil won’t keep the pasta from sticking, but regular stirring with a fork will keep it from sticking together in the pot.
4. Save a cup of pasta water
After cooking the pasta, you could save the pasta water in a cup to use it later on if needed. For example, you can then use it to make pasta sauce, as the starch in the pasta water will help the ingredients mix better and thicken the sauce.
5. Do not use cold water with hot pasta
Do not wash pasta in cold water! They are simply drained through a colander – this way the starch in the pasta is not lost and pasta retains its taste.
6. Do not cook pasta of two different shapes in one pot
Each pasta type has its own cooking time, so if you don’t want half the pasta to be dissolved and the other half “al dente”, stick to one shape at a time.
7. Sauce tips
Boiled pasta is not poured with sauce, but mixed into the sauce. In this way, the pasta will be more moist and the two components will mix more successfully.
Always make sure the sauce is ready first. The finished pasta must be mixed into the sauce immediately while it is still hot, otherwise it will resemble and taste like glue when it cools down.
8. Know the portion sizing
The ideal serving size for one person is quite simple. If you intend to cook pasta as a side dish, 60 grams of pasta (weight before cooking) will be enough for one person. But if pasta is the main dish, then this number will double.
Now you know all of the best tips and tricks for boiling pasta the absolutely right way.