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There is so much variety in pasta that if served with different types of sauces or used in salads soups or even puddings you can enjoy it several times a week without making the same dish twice. Pasta can be used for breakfast casseroles luncheon salads and dinner entrees and even for dessert. Try your hand experiment and see what you can come up with. According to a recent pasta survey taken among Italian chefs and experts - these are the 7 most common mistakes most people make when cooking pasta... 1. Not using a large enough cooking pot This is probably the most common "pasta cooking" mistake. The very minimum that the experts recommend is four quarts of water for one pound of pasta. But Italian chefs and pasta experts use more than that; between five and six quarts of water for each pound of pasta.
Stir pasta as soon as it is dropped into the boiling water and keep stirring every minute or so. Never add oil which will coat the pasta and cause it to repel instead of absorb the sauce. Oil would be needed if you are using a low quality pasta since the cheaper wheat would make it much easier for the strands to get glued together. Let the pasta cook on a lively fire stirring it every now and then. Be careful of the cooking time: on italian packages it is usually correct. Better to stop cooking a few seconds sooner than later since the paste will in any case continue cooking for a little while after you drain it. How do you know the pasta is cooked? Well if you do not have a cooking time on the pasta package just sample a strand of the pasta. Break it and see if the inside is still whitish.
Therefore - no need to add oil. 3. Not adding salt to the water Because we are constantly warned about the perils of salt in our diet many cooks will add only a tiny pinch of salt or none at all to the cooking water. This is a mistake. Pasta needs plenty of salt because salt "roughs up" the surface and keeps it from becoming slimy. Add about a teaspoon of salt per each gallon of water. This seems like a lot but every good Italian chef cooks it this way and it really does make a difference. And here s the good news: The pasta does not absorb salt in the same way that vegetables or potatoes do so you will not be eating all the salt that you use in the cooking water. The exception to the add plenty of salt rule is when cooking fresh pasta which does not need salted water.