Making perfect pasta is no more difficult than making rice, and it’s not as time-consuming as you might think. The key is knowing the right way to cook it. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll show you how to make al dente pasta that’s tender yet firm so your sauce clings perfectly.
Start with the best pasta
Your pasta is only as good as the quality of your ingredients. When it comes to fresh pasta, look for brands with a reputation for making dough from scratch and using old-world methods.
These will be more expensive than the dried versions, but you can count on them for superior flavor and texture. For imported pasta, use the same criteria: seek out those made with quality flour and water—and avoid anything that looks machine-made!
Follow the directions
This is a pretty simple step, but it’s important to follow the directions. The first thing you’ll need to do is measure out your flour and eggs (or water), as specified in the recipe. If you’re making fettuccine noodles, for example, then you’ll need to add some extra egg whites to your recipe before mixing everything.
Pasta making is actually relatively easy once you get used to it, and there are tons of resources available online that will help guide beginners through every step of their first few attempts at homemade noodles.
Use a large pot of water
You don’t want to cook pasta in too small of a pot, which can cause the water to bubble over or boil dry. A large pot with plenty of room for the pasta will ensure that it has enough room to move around without sticking together.
A good rule of thumb is to use at least two times more water than your pasta volume (for example, if you’re making spaghetti for two people, use at least 4 quarts of water).
Add plenty of salt to the water
Salt is an essential ingredient in pasta cooking. Adding salt helps the noodles absorb water, which is important for cooking them evenly. Salt also helps retain the shape of your pasta and makes it taste better by seasoning it as it cooks.
Making perfect pasta isn’t hard–you need to remember these few tips!
Making perfect pasta isn’t difficult, but it can be easy to forget the basics. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make:
- Don’t use a colander! Pasta must drain in a strainer, so that excess water is not drained away.
- Don’t rinse your pasta! Rinsing can remove some of the starch, creating an unpleasant texture when cooked. If you must rinse it, do so with cold water only; hot water will cause it to cook faster and more unevenly.
- Don’t overcook your pasta! Ensuring all of your strands are al dente (Italian for “to the tooth”) is important because overcooking makes them mushy and unpleasant-tasting. Use a thermometer if you’re unsure if they’re done enough; the temperature will depend on how much heat you put into cooking them!
- And lastly: don’t add oil! Oil coats the noodles and prevents them from sticking together as well as making sure that whatever sauce you’re using doesn’t stick either
Now that you know how to make perfect pasta, it’s time to get cooking!