For most people, pasta is usually the first attempt at cooking. After all, how hard is it to boil water, toss in some noodles or pasta shapes, boil it, drain it, and dress it with some kind of sauce?
Believe it or not, though, there are some amazing pasta hacks that will have your pasta tasting like it was cooked by a pro. Get pasta on the table tonight using these seven pasta hacks.
1. Use the right amount of water
When boiling pasta, if you don’t use enough water you will wind up with a clump of noodles. Pasta needs room to move around in the pot as it boils in order to cook properly. Use six quarts of water per every pound of pasta. Not keen on measuring? Then use more water than you need, just remember not to fill the pot too much or it will bubble over when it boils.
2. Know when to salt it
Maybe you know you should add salt to the water to keep the pasta from sticking together. But what you probably do not know is that the right time to add your salt is when your water starts to boil. Once you see the salt dissolve, add your pasta.
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3. When it comes to time, less is more
If you are using dry pasta, you will want to cook it for one minute less than the packaging instructs. This will ensure al dente pasta. It should have a little resistance when you bite into it.
4. Save that pasta water
Why waste all that water? The water that remains in the pot after boiling your pasta is great for adjusting the thickness of the sauces you will create. It is essential for a perfect carbonara. Reserve this pasta water and add it in slowly as you stir your sauces with your pasta for the perfect consistency.
5. Do not waste olive oil
If you always add olive oil to your pot of water, stop. It will only waste your precious olive oil and prevent your sauce from bonding to your cooked pasta. Use the olive oil on your cooked pasta along with freshly grated cheese instead.
6. Never rinse in cold water
Another common myth with pasta is that it is good to rinse it with cold water. This does not wash away fat or starch or any other thing you have been told. It serves no purpose except to render your pasta cold. The only time you should do this is if you are making a cold pasta salad.
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7. You can make it in a pan instead
One new trick some chefs are swearing by is to add your dry pasta into a frying pan, add in enough cold water to cover the pasta by a half inch and cook over medium-high heat. When the pasta is ready (roughly 10 minutes), there will be just enough water leftover to use for creating your sauce right in the pan.
There is no such thing as “boring pasta.” Make your favorite pasta dish tonight with these great pasta hacks. Let us know how it goes!