Boiling pasta. It seems so simple, and it actually is, but there are secrets to making it perfect every time. A lot of you in our Facebook Chat expressed your longing for the perfect pot of pasta so we’ve brought it to you here, step by step.
Let’s first start with the water. The rule of the thumb is every pound of pasta needs one gallon of water to cook in. It’s really important that the pasta has enough room in the pot to move around. There’s a term actually in Italian that says “pasta should cook like a fish in the sea.” There’s actually no such thing as too much water, but there is such a thing as too little. If you don’t add enough water, your pasta will take on a gummy texture as the starches will at first detach themselves from the noodles and then re-attach as they have nowhere else to go.
Next is salt. For every gallon of water you’ll need one ounce of salt. Salt is what enhances the flavor of pasta. Make sure to add it in once the water is boiling, and not beforehand, as you’ll want it to dissolve instantly. It’s important the salt dissolves immediately because if not, it will cause pitting, which is tiny little dents and bumps that form on the bottom of pots.
After you add your salt, you’re now ready to add in the pasta. But don’t walk away just yet. To prevent the pasta from clumping or sticking together while cooking, you’ll need to stir it occasionally. For string pastas, make sure to use a pasta fork, and for tube pastas, use a cook’s spoon or spatula. As far as timing, stir your pasta every 15-20 seconds in the first minute. Then afterwards just stir it every minute.
Normally, you always want to cook your pasta for one minute less than what it says on the box. To make sure the pasta is thoroughly cooked, take a piece out and taste it. It should be nice and firm to the tooth – in Italian we call this “al dente.” The term “al dente” also means cooked to order, which is the last important step in cooking the perfect pot of pasta. You always want to cook your pasta right before you serve it to your guests. Once you drain the pasta, immediately mix it in with your sauce. This will allow the pasta shape to take on the flavor of the sauce as the starches in the pasta cling to the sauce, which also helps thicken it.
And now you’re ready to serve and enjoy it with family and friends. Ciao ya’ll!