How to Cook Perfect Pasta
At Pasta Pantry, we are fresh pasta addicts.
You can always swing by and buy our fresh homemade pasta as a part of your grocery list, but if you’re cooking store-bought dried pasta at home, here are some suggestions for getting the best results.
Most pasta doubles in volume when it is cooked. It’s not always easy to figure out how much to cook. As a general rule, one pound of pasta will serve six people as an appetizer or four when served as a main course. As a guideline:
– 4 ounces or 1 cup of uncooked pasta such as macaroni, shells, rotini, penne or ziti makes 2 ½ cups of cooked pasta.
– Uncooked pasta such as spaghetti, vermicelli, fettuccine or linguine in a 4 ounce size or a one inch diameter makes 2 cups of cooked pasta.
Use a Large Pot
To cook pasta properly you need a lot of water. If the pot is too small, the pasta will stick together. For a pound of pasta (16 ounces) you will need a pot that holds 5 or 6 quarts of water. One quart of water should be used for every 4 ounces of pasta.
Plenty of Water
Cold water is best as it contains fewer impurities. Initially cover the pot of cold water to bring to a boil faster and then remove the lid… add salt….about 2 tablespoons of salt per pound of pasta. This may seem like a lot of salt but most of the salt drains off with the water. It’s important to season the pasta and salt also helps to make the surface of the pasta rough so it doesn’t stick. Do not add oil of any kind.
Once you’ve added the pasta into boiling water, stir initially to prevent sticking. Cook uncovered at a fast boil. Most pastas cook in 8 to 12 minutes but it is a good idea to test for doneness after about 4 minutes of cooking. Pasta overcooks quickly so once it has reached the “al dente” stage (pasta should be slightly chewy), remove the pot from the heat, add about 1 cup of cold water which will immediately stop the cooking process. Drain immediately by letting the pasta drain naturally….do not rinse with cold water as it’s the starch in the pasta that allows the sauce to stick to it.