Pasta 101: Four do’s and don’ts when cooking pasta. By Estelle Low
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Linguine, fusilli, farfalle… Whatever your fancy, whipping up a plate of pasta at home seems easy enough. Until, the gooey pasta turns your spaghetti bolognese into spaghetti bleurgh.
To cook al dente (“to the tooth” in Italian) or chewy spaghetti every single time, Chef Luca Ciano from Italian pasta brand Barilla cracks down on common mistakes and shares his top tips.
1. To cook perfectly al dente pasta every time, do use enough water.
Go on, fill your pot. More water helps to dilute the starch content so that the pasta does not turn sticky. As a general guide, use one litre of water and 10g of salt for every 100g of pasta.
2. To cook perfectly al dente pasta every time, do undercook pasta by one or two minutes.
Undercooking the pasta by just a touch will ensure it is perfectly al dente by the time it’s thoroughly mixed with the piping hot sauce. Mangiamo (“Eat up!”)
3. To cook perfectly al dente pasta every time, don’t add oil to the boiling water.
This won’t keep the pasta from turning sticky. What it will do is coat your pasta with oil as you remove it from the water – and prevent it from soaking up the tasty sauce you’ve prepared.
4. To cook perfectly al dente pasta every time, don’t rinse cooked pasta under cold water.
Doing so washes away the pasta’s flavour and nutrients, including starch that binds sauce to it.