Basic rules for cooking pasta

Cooking pasta is easy, it is enough to follow a few simple rules. These rules are so simple and obvious for Italians, that is very hard to find them written down for foreigners.

Image from Wikipedia – Pasta fresca tagliata a mano

The Water

Put the water in a big pot and start the fire. When the water is cold add some salt. The amount of salt is about a couple of spoons, but you can adjust to your taste with practice. For the water remember that the more the better. When the water is very much boiling drop the pasta in it, and keep the fire running so that the boiling keeps going. Once the pasta is in keep the fire at a proper power, so that the boiling keeps going.

The Right Cooking Time

On the box of the pasta usually there is written for how long you have to keep in cooking into the boiling water. However Italians usually ignore it and keep it cooking 2 or 3 minutes less than suggested. This will make the pasta taste harder (“al dente” in Italian). You should know that Italians that eat pasta abroad always complain about the pasta being too soft. This is because foreigners cooking pasta often overcook it, resulting in a too soft pasta.

Tips

Stir the pasta in the post frequently. This prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If your pot is big enough and you do not overcook, you will never have pasta pieces sticking together.

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