should be cooked in plenty of water. You need a high rimmed large saucepan. For
every ½ kilo (1 lb.) of pasta you’ll need 5 liters (10 pints) of water and 2
tablespoons of salt. When the water boils, it must be really bubbling, lower the
pasta in and stir with a wooden fork.
the cooking times indicated on the package. Different shapes and qualities take
different times to cook in a range of from a minimum of 2 minutes to a maximum
of 13 minutes. When it is ready, strain it into a colander taking care not to
burn yourself. If the sauce you are seasoning with is not very liquid, reserve a
cup of the cooking water to add, if necessary. Pour the pasta into a serving
bowl with the sauce of your choice and toss well.
The amount per person depends upon one’s appetite, but the following will
render a normal Italian portion (entire plateful):
grams (4 oz.) long pasta (spaghetti, noodles, etc.): 100-120 grams (5 oz.) short
pasta (elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle etc.); 60 grams (2 oz.)”fresh” egg
you want your pasta always perfectly cooked al dente follow these simple rules:
Choose your favorite
brand and if possible stick to it.
Keep in your larder
not more than 4 shapes. For instance spaghetti, vermicelli, penne and rigatoni.
From the moment you
“throw” your pasta into the boiling water, calculate the cooking time shown
in the package plus 2 minutes. Why? It’s because most of the producers don’t
say it, but their cooking time is intended from the restarting of the boil.
Stir the pasta
immediately after throwing in for a few seconds.
these simple rules you will have a perfect pasta al dente with no more testing
Why is it that sometimes the pasta comes out gooey? Two common reasons
are: either there was not enough water or that the pasta was not stirred
initially. The correct relationship between water and pasta is 100 grams of
pasta to a liter of water, 4 oz. Of pasta to 1-3/4 Imperials pints or 2-1/4 U.S.
pints. This requires a large high-rimmed saucepan. Adding a teaspoon of oil to
the water helps to stop egg pasta like tagliatelle from sticking.
Soft bloated pasta
When the pasta
soft and bloated, the most likely reason is that it has been in the water too
long. This happens if you “throw” it in when the water is not yet boiling
or, alternatively, if you keep the heat too low and the water does not boil
or tagliatelle tend to stick together when strained. Do not leave the pasta when
you have strained it. You must add either butter, oil or the sauce immediately
and stir it in well. If the sauce is fairly dry then add a ladle of the cooking
Salty or insipid pasta The
quantity of salt to water should be ½ tablespoon per liter. 1 ¾ Imperial pints
or 2 ¼ U.S. pints. If the water boils too much especially for longer cooking
types like fusilli or penne, it can evaporate, concentrating the salt.
Pasty lasagne Lasagne,
timballi and pasta gratins can come out pasty. Usually, this is due to
overcooking. Remove the macaroni or lasagne from the water when they are still
slightly hard. They finish cooking in the oven.
Another way to cook pasta is to
finish it off in the oven. In kitchen jargon, this is known as gratinato.
“Gratin” is the French word for the thin golden crust which forms on the
surface of dishes placed in the oven to grill. Remember that if you decide to
cook pasta this way, it must be
very firm before you put it in the oven, as the oven heat will cook it further,
and good pasta is never mushy. You must therefore strain it a couple of minutes
before the cooking time indicated on the packet has elapsed.