Pasta is a staple go-to dinner in so many households. Its quick, you can be creative, and it is just simply a delicious crowd pleaser, cooking fresh pasta isn’t scary, in fact it can be fun. We guarantee though once you cook with fresh pasta there is no going back – here are 10 easy steps to get that perfectly cooked pasta every time.
Perfect Pasta: Our 10 Tips & Tricks to cooking perfect pasta every time
1- DON’T put oil in your water or on your pasta!
Adding oil to your water does nothing except make Nonna sad, and adding oil to cooked pasta will cause your pasta to get greasy and lose its grip to soak up your delicious sauce.
2- Fill your pot with enough water!
You don’t want to over crowd your pot. Remember pasta will expand as it cooks so you want to ensure there is enough water for your pasta to move freely. A easy guide is 6L for 500 grams Pasta.
3- Salt your water like the Mediterranean Sea.
In order to flavour your pasta you must ensure you are salting your water. It will also bring crucial seasoning to your water for later when saving your pasta water. A quick guide is 2tbls spoons of salt per 6L
4- Bring water to a rapid boil – then add pasta.
Ever wondered why your pasta is gluggy or sticky? Chances are you didn’t allow your pot of water to rapidly boil. The moment your pasta hits the water starches are instantly being released and your pasta is absorbing water causing the soggy texture of improperly being cooked. So be patient and allow that pot of water to rapidly boil – add a lid to allow a quicker boil.
5- STIR! STIR! STIR! That pasta.
Once your pasta is in the boiling water remember to stir to avoid any sticking, also stir occasionally during the cooking process – I find a pair of tongs is easiest for your long shapes.
6- Be aware of cooking time.
Different shapes may require a varied cooking time. You’re looking for “al dente” which means tender to the tooth. Leaving in hot water for too long will result in your pasta overcooking and becoming gluggy. Fresh pasta will always cook a lot quicker than dried packet pasta. Our fresh pasta will vary from 2-4 mins of cooking time depending on the shape – test your pasta after 2 minutes to see if its al dente or if it requires a few more minutes. Remember your pasta will continue to cook in your sauce.
7- Always save your pasta water.
Before you drain your pasta reserve about 1cup of your pasta water – this is needed later for your sauce.
8- Drain don’t “dry”.
Drain your pasta to remove MOST of your water, but don’t drain the pasta and let it sit. As your pasta cools, the starches will firm up causing your pasta to stick together.
9- Add pasta to sauce – NOT sauce to pasta.
For optimal pasta flavour we ALWAYS recommend having your sauce prepared BEFORE you cook your pasta – I like to get my water boiling while I prepare my sauce and as my sauce is almost done, turn down the heat to a simmer and begin cooking your pasta. Add your pasta to your sauce immediately after drained (make sure you saucepan is big enough to accommodate you sauce and pasta) you pasta will finish cooking in your sauce and absorb all the flavour.
10 -Add some pasta water!
Adding a touch of pasta water to your sauce when you add the pasta helps the sauce adhere better to the pasta. The water adds a bit of richness and flavour, and the starchiness can help bring a split sauce back together. – add as much water as desired or required.
11 -OPTIONAL STEP!
In my opinion this is the most important step. Top your Pasta with your favourite cheese to compliment your sauce – my go to is Pecorino Romano Cheese