Pasta must be boiled in a large quantity of water, at least 5 or 6 litres for 400-600 g of pasta. The amount of pasta needed depends on whether it's for a main dish or a side dish (and how hungry your guests are). For a start, try about 80 grams per serving.
Bring the water to boil, with salt and oil already in the water. The salt and oil raise the boiling temperature of the water, season the pasta, and reduce the chance of sticking.
Wait until the water is at a strong boil before putting in the pasta. Stir the pasta initially (a wooden spoon or spatula works well) to keep it from sticking together or to the bottom of the pot.
Cooking time is critical, with overcooking the most common problem.
Good pasta is cooked just until it can be cut through with the edge of a fork or bitten through with the teeth (al denti, in Italian).
The cooking times are often printed on the package. As a general guide, thin pastas cook faster than thick:
- 3-4 minutes: vermicelli or fresh pasta
- 8-12 minutes: spaghetti
- 12-18 minutes: macaroni
When the pasta is cooked, dump it directly into a sieve to drain quickly.
Rub a small amount of butter or cooking oil in the bottom of the now-empty pot and pour the drained pasta back in; the pot is still warm and is the perfect size for preparing the cooked pasta.
The pasta is still cooking from the heat when it is poured into the seive, so that time must be considered as well. You can pour cold water over the pasta in the sieve to stop the cooking, but it must be done briefly enough to not cool the pasta.
|Conversions||30 g = 1 oz = 2 Tbs||180 g = 6 oz = 3/4 cup|
|1 kg = 2.2 lbs||1 lt = 1.06 qt||60 g = 2 oz = 1/4 cup||225 g = 8 oz = 1 cup|
|0.45 kg = 1 lb||0.95 lt = 1 qt||115 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup||450 g = 16 oz = 1 pint|