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Most manufacturers will put the recommended cooking time on the package. Pasta should always be cooked al dente which literally means to the tooth. You should be able to bite easily into pasta; it should not be hard or dry nor should it be mushy. If using the pasta for casseroles or lasagna the pasta may be slightly undercooked as more cooking will take place in the oven and the added sauce will be absorbed by the pasta and help to soften it also. Fresh pastas should be cooked in the same manner as the dried pastas but the cooking time will be considerably shorter. Fresh pasta usually cooks in one or two minutes. Always test the pasta by taking out a piece running it under cold water and tasting it to be sure it is the way you like it. Take your time and learn a little about each of the types of pasta. Start with one and try different sauces and meat variations with it. Once you have become familiar with one type (this can include different thicknesses) then move on and try another.
When you walk down the pasta aisle in the market how do you choose which pasta to buy and which to use for what purpose? There are flat pastas round pastas hollow pastas and twisted pastas. There is pasta that is made to look like rice (Italian orzo) and pasta that resembles gnocchi (potato dumplings). There are shells and tubes and then there is pasta that is made into shapes to fit the season. Do you want to serve your pasta with tomato sauce Alfredo Sauce (cream sauce) primavera (with lightly grilled spring vegetables? Do you want stuffed pasta and if so what do you stuff it with? Do you want pasta that is made from semolina ordinary flour or gluten free such as corn or rice pasta? Do you want squid ink pasta spinach pasta or tomato pasta or just plain pasta? The more you learn about pasta the more there is to know and the more bewildered you can get. The best quality pasta is made from semolina (hard durum wheat) and eggs with maybe a little salt and some olive oil thrown in.
The fact that it s fresh negates the need for salt because fresh pasta has a different surface than dried pasta. 4. Adding the pasta to the water before the water has boiled Pasta must be cooked in boiling water from the start. Add the pasta to the pot when the water has come to a full rolling boil. It will stop boiling when you add the pasta so make sure you get the water boiling again as quickly as possible. To add pasta to cold water and then heat up the water is a sure guarantee pasta will not cook properly. 5. Not stirring the pasta once it is cooking Pasta needs to be stirred while it is cooking. This stops it sticking together (especially spaghetti and linguine). When pasta doesn t stick together it all cooks consistently. 6. Overcooking the pasta Different people will cook the same pasta for as much as five minutes difference and each will claim they have cooked their pasta perfectly. But while accepting that taste is a subjective thing there are people who undercook their pasta and people who overcook their pasta.