HOW TO COOK PASTA
When purchasing pasta, look for ones made with 100% semolina or durum. Pasta made with durum wheat hold shape and firmness when cooked and when cooked properly, do not get mushy or sticky. Those not made from semolina are softer and are better used for casseroles.
A general rule of thumb -- a package of pasta usually has six servings, always check under the nutrition facts for accurate measurements.
- 4 oz of uncooked pasta in the shape of elbow macaroni, shells, penne, ziti, etc = 2 1/2 cups of cooked pasta
- 4 oz of uncooked pasta in the shape of spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, vermicelli, etc = 2 cups of cooked pasta
- When cooking pasta make sure you use a large pot. Pasta needs room to cook or else it sticks together when crowded.
- Always use cold water, preferably filtered when cooking pasta. Hot water can carry contaminants from water pipes and can even effect flavor.
- Bring a large pot of cold water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per one pound of pasta and stir.
- Add all of the pasta and stir in the beginning, breaking up any pasta that might be sticking together or on the bottom of the pot.
- Leave heat on high and return to a boil. Most pastas will take 8-12 minutes to cook. DO NOT ADD OIL to your pasta as it causes the sauce to slide right off.
- Watch pasta carefully as it easily overcooks. Check consistency after 5 minutes.
- Pasta should be al dente -- meaning tender but still firm in the middle. Once it has reached this state quickly remove from heat and add 1/2 - 1 cup of cold water. The pasta will continue to cook when removed from heat.
- Strain and use immediately as pasta should still be moist when mixed with a sauce. Do not over drain or rinse your pasta unless directed to do so. Over draining and rinsing takes off the starch which helps adhere the sauce to the pasta.