Six Basic Cooking Techniques Culinary Essentials For The Home Cook 7 Secrets to Making Perfect Al Dente Pasta Every Time

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7 Secrets to Making Perfect Al Dente Pasta Every Time

Pasta is one of the most popular foods in the world, however, it can be difficult to achieve.

The best thing about al dente pasta is what chefs call “mouthwatering”… a delightful combination of texture and flavor that satisfies. It’s the most important moment when you’re eating pasta with a rich, flavorful sauce. Hmmm. Nothing better, right? But be careful and even the best pasta dish is ruined! It’s sticky, it’s sticky, sometimes it’s thin, sometimes it’s mushy. The soup looks very dry or it goes down completely and put water in the bowl. It’s crazy!

But fear not, pasta lovers! After extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the entire process to seven essential steps – the 7 inner secrets – to perfect pasta. Follow these 7 secrets and your pasta will be and dente and always delicious.

Secret #1 LOTS OF WATER!

Start with a large amount of cold water in a large pot. At least 4 liters per pound of pasta. Pasta needs a place to “swim” in water. Without enough water, the pasta stays in place. As it cooks, the pasta produces starch, a glue-like substance, and if it touches another piece, it bonds to another piece. This is where the solid, mixed finish comes from! If using a pan and strainer combo, add extra water so the pasta is covered and has plenty of room to move around. DO NOT break the cords. If it doesn’t fit, use a larger pot.

Tip #2 The Water Must Be Hot!

Make sure the water is at a simmer – not a boil or two – before you pour in your pasta. If it is not at a full boil, it will cook slowly and the consistency will go away. Use a large enough lid to get your pasta water to a quick, healthy boil.

Recipe #3 – Salt water generously!

When the water is running, boil it, add a spoonful or a lot of salt. Do not put the salt in cold water or it will sink to the bottom. The salt does two things. It increases the temperature of the water and flavors the pasta. Too much salt is wasted because sodium is not really a problem.

Tip #4 – DO NOT OIL in the water! Have you ever heard of adding oil to water to prevent your pasta from sticking? The theory sounds logical but here are the problems with that approach. The oil sits on top of the pasta water so it can’t hold the strands under the water so they don’t stick. Then when the pasta is drained, the oil coats the pasta and the sauce drips down onto the bottom of your plate. Good pasta has its own shape and texture, combined with the dry water on the cooked, cooked pasta helps the sauce stick to the pieces. Save your good oils for your sauces!

Recipe #5 – START the pasta! This information is required. Once you add your pasta, it will begin to soften as it rests in the hot water. Mix the pot well so that everything is below the water line and flows freely. Then stir gently every few minutes while it cooks. This prevents it from settling down and sticking to the pot while cooking or from sticking to other pieces. (see secret #1).

Secret #6 – TASTE test and test again! After unloading your pasta, set your timer on the package. At the last minute, carefully remove a piece of pasta, let it cool and taste. It should be cooked but with a firm “bite”. If not, try another piece in 30 seconds. Repeat until it’s perfect. The pasta continues to cook as soon as it is drained and added to the sauce, so a little at a time is when you want to remove it from the heat and drain. Prepare everything so that your pasta does not sit in the colander for a long time!

Tip #7 – DO NOT over*cook your pasta! When you drain your pasta, it’s best to leave some of the water to dry. Do not wash this! The dry water helps the pasta and the consistency of the sauce.

* The exception to this rule is for pasta salad, shells, cannelloni, etc., and lasagna. Cold salad pasta should be washed in cold water, drained well and tossed with salad or olive oil to prevent sticking. For the filled pasta lasagna, rinse in cold water until soft to the touch. Drain well and lightly coat with a little olive oil to make the pasta easier to work with when assembling the dish.

BONUS SECRET: Reserve some of the pasta water about the beautiful sauces! Before draining, drain ½ cup or dry pasta water and set aside. This thick sauce will help you smooth your sauces beautifully – it’s an old Italian Nonna’s trick! After combining the pasta and sauce (best in a hot pot), add the reserved, dry pasta water. The yeast works to create a delicious, rich, smooth texture that makes this dish sing. Adjust the amount of sauce and pasta to the “mouth” feel, be careful not to overdo the sauce! Bon appetit!

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