Cooking dried pasta

Cooking dried pasta

By
From
Tuscany
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

We prefer to use an Italian brand such as Barilla or De Cecco when buying dried pasta. The quality is good, the result is firm, bouncy pasta and they are very accurate with the cooking times on the packets.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
80g pasta, for a starter portion
100g pasta, for a main course

Method

  1. Dried pasta should be cooked in the biggest pot you have. It can then move around in the water without sticking together. You don’t need any oil. Make sure the water is bubbling hard when you put in the pasta.
  2. Salt the water generously. The rule of thumb is 60 g salt in 6 litres water for 500 g pasta. If you taste the water, it should taste like the sea, then the pasta will be tasty enough to eat on its own.
  3. Just before you’ve reached the cooking time on the packet, take out a strand of pasta and test it. If it is just tender, but still has some resistance, then it is ready – ‘al dente’, literally ‘to the tooth’.
  4. Always transfer the al dente pasta to the warm sauce. The best way to collect the pasta is with a ‘spider’ (a cobweb-shaped sieve) or a pair of tongs. As you transfer the pasta a few splashes of cooking water is added to the sauce, which helps to lengthen and flavour it.
  5. The pasta should finish cooking for a minute or two in the sauce to really absorb the flavour. Toss the pan or use tongs to move the pasta in the sauce to combine them both. Some of the starch from the pasta will release into the sauce and help thicken it. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the pasta cooking water. The exception to this rule is raw sauces such as pesto, which are simply stirred through hot pasta in a bowl.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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