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Pasta, Perfectly Cooked

by: Celebrity Recipes
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Pasta should be cooked in plenty of water. You need a high rimmed large saucepan. For every ½ kilo (1 lb.) of pasta you’ll need 5 liters (10 pints) of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. When the water boils, it must be really bubbling, lower the pasta in and stir with a wooden fork.

Follow the cooking times indicated on the package. Different shapes and qualities take different times to cook in a range of from a minimum of 2 minutes to a maximum of 13 minutes. When it is ready, strain it into a colander taking care not to burn yourself. If the sauce you are seasoning with is not very liquid, reserve a cup of the cooking water to add, if necessary. Pour the pasta into a serving bowl with the sauce of your choice and toss well.

The amount per person depends upon one’s appetite, but the following will render a normal Italian portion (entire plateful):
80-100 grams (4 oz.) long pasta (spaghetti, noodles, etc.): 100-120 grams (5 oz.) short pasta (elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle etc.); 60 grams (2 oz.)”fresh” egg pasta (tagliatelle)


Al dente  If you want your pasta always perfectly cooked al dente follow these simple rules:

· Choose your favorite brand and if possible stick to it.

·  Keep in your larder not more than 4 shapes. For instance spaghetti, vermicelli, penne and rigatoni.

·  From the moment you “throw” your pasta into the boiling water, calculate the cooking time shown in the package plus 2 minutes. Why? It’s because most of the producers don’t say it, but their cooking time is intended from the restarting of the boil.

· Stir the pasta immediately after throwing in for a few seconds.

With these simple rules you will have a perfect pasta al dente with no more testing before draining!

Gooey pasta  Why is it that sometimes the pasta comes out gooey? Two common reasons are: either there was not enough water or that the pasta was not stirred initially. The correct relationship between water and pasta is 100 grams of pasta to a liter of water, 4 oz. Of pasta to 1-3/4 Imperials pints or 2-1/4 U.S. pints. This requires a large high-rimmed saucepan. Adding a teaspoon of oil to the water helps to stop egg pasta like tagliatelle from sticking.

Soft bloated pasta  When the pasta comes out soft and bloated, the most likely reason is that it has been in the water too long. This happens if you “throw” it in when the water is not yet boiling or, alternatively, if you keep the heat too low and the water does not boil during cooking.

Sticky pasta  Spaghetti or tagliatelle tend to stick together when strained. Do not leave the pasta when you have strained it. You must add either butter, oil or the sauce immediately and stir it in well. If the sauce is fairly dry then add a ladle of the cooking water, too.

Salty or insipid pasta The quantity of salt to water should be ½ tablespoon per liter. 1 ¾ Imperial pints or 2 ¼ U.S. pints. If the water boils too much especially for longer cooking types like fusilli or penne, it can evaporate, concentrating the salt.

Pasty lasagne Lasagne, timballi and pasta gratins can come out pasty. Usually, this is due to overcooking. Remove the macaroni or lasagne from the water when they are still slightly hard. They finish cooking in the oven.

Baking Another way to cook pasta is to finish it off in the oven. In kitchen jargon, this is known as gratinato. “Gratin” is the French word for the thin golden crust which forms on the surface of dishes placed in the oven to grill. Remember that if you decide to cook pasta this  way, it must be very firm before you put it in the oven, as the oven heat will cook it further, and good pasta is never mushy. You must therefore strain it a couple of minutes before the cooking time indicated on the packet has elapsed.


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September 20, 2017

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