There are several mistakes people make when cooking pasta, but here are 5 easy to remember tips on how to make the perfect pasta (and pasta water for the perfect sauce)
There is nothing more disappointing than making delicious pasta sauce, then having it slide right off your pasta. What also happens is the pasta may be overcooked, and it can break when you mix in the sauce. So here are five tricks to ensure your pasta is the best it can be.
1. Do not use oil when boiling your pasta
The biggest mistake many people make is adding oil to your pasta water. Do not do this. The reason not to add oil is because the oil sticks to the pasta, and avoids the sauce infusing to the pasta, making your pasta way too slippery, with the sauce sliding right off.
2. Add salt to your cooking water
Adding salt to your pasta water helps add flavour to the pasta, and the water (which is used for the sauce). This is important to bring out the best flavours from your pasta dish. It certainly helps make it taste better.
3. Don’t turn the flame up too high for too long
Always follow the cooking time at the back of your pasta packet, and don’t over-boil your pasta. If you don’t have the pasta’s packet, just keep checking your pasta. Theres no harm to keep checking it until your get it perfect.
The trick here is to:
- salt the water, and dissolve it in
- let the water reach its boiling point, where the water is bubbling profusely
- add the pasta
- turn the heat down to a medium flame, and let it cook in an active simmer until soft
4. Save your pasta water!
Your pasta water is the best flavour enhancer and sauce thickener for your pasta dish. The salt from the pasta will add to the sauce, and the starch from the pasta water can help thicken your sauce and infuse your pasta to the sauce, without having to add anything like cheese, cornstarch or flour.
5. Let your pasta settle
When you take your pasta out of the active simmer, you don’t need to rinse it under cold water. The starch in the pasta is needed to help glue your pasta to the sauce. What I recommend is to use this small handheld pasta strainer to collect your pasta, shake the water off over the pot and then let it sit over the pot to cool. If your pasta sticks together, you can dunk it in the water once more and scoop it out again before you use it. This way, you wont lose any of the magic stuff.
Now that you know these tips, I hope you can make some amazing pasta!