On a recent global health index, Italy landed on the number one spot. Guess what? Italians eat pasta every single day. Literally. Whether it is the main course at dinner or part of the big lunch, you can expect Italians to enjoy one of the 600 varieties of pasta that exist in the world. This will probably make you hungry for pasta. Before you head to the kitchen, you need to pause and consider all the ways that you’re cooking pasta the wrong way. There could be quite a lot!
You’re Using a Small Pot
Pasta needs a good boiling bath to cook properly. That can only happen in a large pot. Even if you think the pot is too big, use it. The same goes for water: If you think you have too much, then it might just be about right. The goal is a “rolling boil” that allows the pasta to move around when stirred. And that water needs to be heavily salted.
You Add Oil to the Pasta
You might think that adding oil to your pasta prevents it from sticking together. That’s true. Guess what else isn’t sticking to the pasta? Your choice of sauce. That’s not going to do anyone any good. Stick to the salt and leave the oil for dipping bread in.
You Pour It Into a Colander
The water that you cook your pasta in is like liquid gold to chefs. That is the stuff that will keep your pasta from sticking together and your sauce to adhere. But if you pour your pasta out in a colander than you’re losing all that valuable liquid. A better method is to cook the pasta in a colander that fits into the pot. That way you can remove it when it is done and keep that pasta water. You can also extract the pasta with tongs.
You Pour Sauce on Top
Pouring sauce on top of a pasta might look good in a commercial but it just doesn’t work. It always results in an uneven disbursement. The better approach is to cook your sauce in a pan and add the pasta (with a splash of the water) into the pan. Stir and/or toss and you’re good to go.
You Use Too Much Sauce
This might be a preference thing but if you swim your pasta in a pool of sauce, then you’re not going to take the pasta. A good rule to follow is 2 cups of sauce per pound of pasta. Ideally, when you’re done eating, there shouldn’t be any sauce left on the plate. If there is, then grab a hunk of bread to mop it up. Much better than having bread before the meal!
You Use a Plate
Pasta should be served in a bowl. It doesn’t have to be a deep bowl, but it should be a bowl. It is much more fun to eat that way and also won’t cool off as fast. Pay attention to the next great Italian restaurant that you go to. If you’re pasta doesn’t come in a bowl, then you should be eating some place else.
You Throw out the Leftovers
A good pasta can always be brought back to life as a leftover. Add it to a frittata or pour it into a baking dish, beat in a few eggs and lots of grated cheese. It’s a whole new dish. You’re welcome.