Gone are the days when the litmus test for whether your pasta was cooked or not revolved around throwing it at the ceiling. If pasta evades you (and it does so many, by the way), then hold tight, and follow our 5 tips for perfect pasta, every time.
Salt That Water
According to Italians, the water to cook pasta should be as salty as the sea. If this level of salt freaks you out, give your water an extra large pinch or two, or three. Salt is important to pasta water for a few reasons. It stops it getting sludgy and disgusting and it seasons it. Even if your water is saltier than the Dead Sea, your pasta will not absorb as much as you think. It’s just a bath for it to languish in, until you plunge it into something delicious.
Use A Huge Pot
Yes, we said huge. MASSIVE. Cooking pasta in a teensy pot will pretty much guarantee pasta that is stuck together and slimy. There is a proper reason for this: if you put too much pasta into a small pot it lowers the temperature, meaning that the pasta is sitting in below boiling water for ages, resulting in sludgy, sticky pasta. If you have a huge pot at a rolling boil, then you won’t have this problem.
Don’t Forget to Stir
As soon as you add the pasta to your boiling water, give it a good stir. Do this a few times during the cooking process and your pasta won’t ever stick together. It will also cook evenly, which is the big aim, after all.
Under-cook Your Pasta By One Minute
Use this as a rule forever more. Pasta absorbs flavour, so drain your pasta one minute before it is cooked, then put it into a pan with the sauce you will be using with it and a few tablespoons of that salty cooking water. Cook over a medium heat for another minute or two, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Amazingly delicious pasta, every time.
Finally, Never, Ever Rinse Your Pasta
Honestly, we don’t know why anyone would do this, but we have it on good authority that some people do. Rinsing cooked pasta strips it of flavour, of it’s silkiness that acts as a fabulous receptacle to sauce, and it’s just plain wrong. There is one time that its is ok, and that’s if you’re making a cold pasta salad. If you are doing this, then douse your rinsed pasta in olive oil immediately after rinsing.