After coming from work feeling exhausted, you want to make a stress-free dinner. After weighing several options, you decide to cook pasta. You put water in a small pot in a hurry and add your pasta. You rush to the bathroom, take a bath, put on clothes, and sit to wash television. Suddenly you remember you left pasta boiling. You run to the kitchen, switch off your burner without checking if the pasta is ready. You let it cool first and then serve. To your surprise, the pasta is undercooked. Out of anger and frustrations, you pick them and head to the dustbin. Before pouring them, a thought interrupts; can you re-boil undercooked pasta? Luckily you can. Note that undercooked pasta is crunchy and chewy. Once you overcook it, it becomes gummier. To avoid both extremes, here is a simple recipe for cooking your pasta.
How to Cook Pasta
If you've never cooked pasta before, read the instructions first. Failure to that, you may end up with overcooked, under-cooked, or even tasteless pasta.
Since spaghetti is long, they can't fit in well if the pot is small. That means it will get under-cooked and will clump together. To avoid that:
- Fill water in a large pasta pot up to a level of ¾.
- Turn on your burner and put the water on your stove.
- Cover it and allow it to boil.
Never add water before the water boils. You don't want the surface of your pot to become corroded or even discolored. So, is the salt necessary? For those whose aim to reduce sodium intake may think that adding salt isn't vital. Remember, after putting a spoonful of salt, it will season your spaghettis. As a result, they will have good flavor and texture. A spoonful or two of salt won't harm you. Most of it remains in the water.
Avoid Adding Oil
You don't want to mess up with your waistline. Also, you don't want to interfere with the naturally-delicious starchy flavor of your pasta. Some argue that adding the salt to your pasta will protect it from sticking. Avoid that unfounded theory. Oil makes the pasta slippery. When adding the sauce, the pasta won't hold. To prevent food from sticking, add enough water, and keep on stirring.
Add The Pasta
Put the noodles in the water. Are you cooking spaghettis? Many people make a mistake of breaking them when cooking. They pay for that mistake when eating. How do you hold small pieces of spaghetti with a fork? There is no harm breaking them into smaller peace if you intend to toss them with vegetables later. Note that the spaghetti's may be taller than your pot. In less than 30 seconds, they will soften due to steam. Use a fork to push them in the water. Set a timer as per the packet instructions and let the pasta boil without covering the pot.
Stir The Pasta
Use a wooden spoon to stir your pasta. The metallic one may get too hot and burn you. Stirring will prevent the pasta from clumping together. Taste the pasta before removing it from the stove.
Fixing Under-Cooked Pasta
For long noodles, add them to the sauce, and then add some water. Boil your noodles until it's ready. You can taste to avoid over-cooking. If you had broken the noodles into smaller pieces, boil water in a pot and add salt. Add the pasta, veggies, and butter. Let it boil until it's ready.
Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Pasta
Many cooks will tell you of many mistakes they made when cooking pasta. Some of them include:
Using a Small Pot
After adding pasta in a small pot, it will not boil and move freely. As a result, it's will clump and stick at the surface.
Not Adding Salt
The instruction is clear about adding pasta in salty water. Salt protects your noodles from becoming slimy.
Forgetting To Stir
You don't put the pasta in the water and do other errands waiting for them to cook. With such a mistake, you will end up with sticky pasta. After adding the pasta in water, often stir to ensure that the noodles don't clump at the surface.
Following Instructions Blindly
Note that some noodles cook faster than others. If you strictly follow instructions without checking, you may end up with under-cooked or over-cooked pasta. So, before removing, taste the pasta.
Rinsing The Pasta
It's okay to rinse it if you intend to make a cold pasta salad. If you are not eating your pasta immediately, it will continue to cook after leaving it in hot water. As a result, it will become sticky. You can prevent your pasta from overcooking by rinsing it.
Unless you are rinsing for the two reasons above, then any other reason is a mistake. Note that rinsing your pasta interferes with its starch and flavor. When adding sauce, it will not absorb it well. Instead of rinsing, it's better to drain it in a colander.
Poor Tasting Methods
Why mess your wall with pasta particles? What example are you teaching your children? Take a spoon and taste the pasta. If you are not careful, the pasta will become overcooked.
As indicated earlier, adding fat to your noodles isn't necessary. After all, instead of protecting your noodles from sticking, it will make them slimy. To avoid that, use enough water and, after a few minutes, keeps on stirring.
The result of your pasta will depend on how you cook it. You mess around and get a boring dish. You put in oil, and the pasta becomes slimy. When you use a smaller pot, the pasta will clump at the bottom. Failure to add salt, the pasta will lose texture and will lack flavor. If you follow instructions blindly, you will get either over-cooked or under-cooked pasta. Avoid common mistakes and get a sweet delicacy.