Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Tip: How to Properly Cook Dried Pasta

Who doesn't love pasta?  I mean really!  However, I don't like it when pasta is all mushy or hard in places....  Just not appealing!  Today, I will demonstrate how to properly cook dried pasta.

{Step 1:  Pasta cooks best with a 1 gallon water to 1 pound pasta to 1 teaspoon salt ratio.  To break it down further, that's 1 quart water to 4 oz dried pasta to 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Fill a pot with the amount of water you will need.  I made 8 oz of pasta so I filled a pot with 2 quarts of water.}

{Step 2:  Add salt--I had to add 1/2 teaspoon to this pot.  Why add salt?  Salt raises the temperature water boils to 214 degrees which means when you add the pasta, it won't take as long to recover the temperature back to boiling so the pasta gets done quicker.}

{4 oz dried whole wheat pasta}

{Step 3:  Heat water on high until it starts to bubble}

{Step 4:  Add pasta to the boiling water}

{Step 5:  Stir pasta every 2 minutes until done}

{Step 6:  Once the pasta begins to look done, test it for al dente}

{Al dente mean "to the tooth" in Italian.  Basically, you want the pasta to be soft as you bite into it, but before you bite all the way through it, the pasta should resist a bit.  If you can bite through it no problem, then it's been overcooked.  If it's really hard still, check every minute until you reach the perfect state.}

{Step 7:  Strain the pasta through a colander/strainer}

{Step 8:  If you want to add flavor to your pasta, e.g. butter, olive oil, herb, etc, then pour the pasta into a bowl and add the flavorings immediately and stir until combined.}

{Step 9:  Enjoy!}

One myth that I want to debunk about pasta--it absorbs flavors while cooking.  I used to add olive oil to the boiling water, but a chef pointed out to me that the water and oil separate in the pot.  The only liquid the pasta is absorbing is the water because that's what is covering it.  When you strain it from that hot water, it's still trying to absorb that water.  If you immediately add flavor to it and stir, the pasta soaks up that flavor and locks it into the pasta itself.  You can even add the pasta directly to a sauce, like spaghetti, and it will absorb a little bit of the sauce. 

Don't believe me?  Go make pasta and use olive oil as the flavoring!  (Any excuse to have pasta is good enough for me!)

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment