When properly prepared, pasta is an important part of any good Italian dinner. While pasta is simple to cook, many dishes fail due to improper preparation. Whether you are cooking simple mac and cheese for the kids or a five course meal of Italian food, no one enjoys overcooked or undercooked pasta. These tips are provided by the folks over at italian restaurant irving tx.
To properly prepare this starch, do not crowd the pot. Begin with 4-6 quarts of water per pound of dry pasta. This ratio provides room for the individual noodles to cook without sticking together. It also provides enough water mass to quickly return to a boil after the addition of the pasta so it does not become gummy.
Add salt to the pot. While salt adds flavor to the dish, it also increases the boiling temperature of the water. A teaspoon salt per pound of pasta will reduce the stickiness.
Once the noodles are in the pan, give them a stir to separate them before they cook. As they cook, stir occasionally to keep them separate. However, you should avoid the temptation to stir continuously as this will break down the starch structure.
Follow the directions on the package in regard to the cooking time. Some manufacturers roll their pasta thinner than others in order to reduce cooking time. If you follow a recipe for a different thickness or shape of pasta the dish may be overcooked or undercooked. In addition, when preparing pasta for a casserole or other dish requiring further cooking, reduce the initial cooking time for the noodles by 1/3 of the package direction.
A taste test is the most reliable way to determine if pasta is done. The perfectly cooked pasta remains firm the tooth (al dente) without tasting like a raw noodle. It should hold its shape, yet be flexible.
Drain the pasta as soon as you determine it is done. Do not leave it sitting in the pot to absorb more water and become too soft. Follow the rest of the recipe. If cooking the pasta further, be sure to rinse with cold water to remove excess starch and prevent the noodles from sticking together.