Pasta seems like it should be incredibly easy to make, and it is – if you do it right. If not, you’re in danger of dishing out plates of tasteless mush. There’s no need to panic about your pasta, however, if you just follow these simple steps.
Pick a Pot
Don’t scrimp on size when it comes to choosing your pasta pan. For dishes that taste like they could have been served up in a top Italian restaurant in Dublin, London or Rome, your pasta needs lots of space to move as it cooks.
Make a Splash
Don’t be stingy with the water, either. Every strand or piece of pasta needs to be totally submerged, even after it has expanded.
Hit the Salt
In a world where salt is increasingly banished as the bad-guy condiment, it can be tempting to cut back on the amount you use when cooking your pasta. This can be a big mistake if you’re looking for a good flavour hit, however.
Instead, salt and then salt the water again. You need to use around a tablespoon of salt for a whole packet of pasta – and you don’t have to eat it every day. Find out more about healthy salt limits on the NS Choices website at http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/goodfood/pages/salt.aspx.
Boil It Up
Follow in the footsteps of the culinary experts at the likes of the Italian Restaurant in the heart of Dublin Toscana and only ever put the pasta in the water when it’s at a rolling boil.
Stir It Up
Your pasta should be stirred at least a few times as it cooks to stop it from clumping together.
Get in Early
Follow the cooking times on your pasta packaging, but check to see if it’s done two minutes before it’s supposed to be ready. The aim is pasta which is springy and chewy but not so hard that you’ll be chewing for hours.
Save a Scoop
Before draining all the water off your pasta, save a cup. This is great to use in sauces thanks to the starch it contains.
Stir and Serve
Put your drained pasta back in the pan and add your sauce and the cup of pasta water. This will help bind the pasta and the sauce together. Give it a good toss and you’re ready to serve.