Tips for Perfect Pasta
When I cook pasta I generally use around 120g of dried pasta for one person, therefore a 500g packet of pasta will serve four people.
Pasta really is one of the easiest things in the world to cook, you don't need much equipment to make great pasta, all you need is -
A large pan, generally around stock pot size or even better a pasta pan with a colander like insert
Tongs, spring loaded ones or if you can find them pasta tongs
A wooden spoon for stirring the pasta the pan and to stir your sauce
Top Ten Pasta Tips
(1). To cook the perfect pasta, you should always make sure that there is enough boiling water for the pasta to move around in. This will stop the pasta from sticking together. A general rule of thumb regarding water when cooking pasta is 1litre of water for every 100g of pasta. So therefore 5 litres of water will cook 500g of pasta.
(2). Make sure that your water is always bollente (fast boiling) before adding your pasta.
(3). For 5 litres of water, you will need two heaped tablespoons of salt. The best way to add your salt is to let your pan of water come to the boil first then add the salt when the water is at a rolling boil. If you add salt to cold water it will sink in clumps to the bottom of your pan.
(4). Never ever cook pasta with the lid on the saucepan.
(5). Never add olive oil, or any oil for that matter, to your water when cooking pasta. . all you will do is waste oil, waste time and waste money.
(6). Make sure the pasta is always cooked al dente (firm to the bite) – keep tasting as you cook. As another general rule when adding pasta to a sauce always cook it for a couple of minutes less than the packet instructions as the pasta finish cooking while your tossing or mixing it in to your sauce.
(7). Remember that when cooking fresh pasta or homemade pasta it takes much less time than dried pasta..
(8). When buying pasta, like everything else in life,you get what you pay for. Try to choose a good brand of pasta, it really is worth spending a little extra money (see below).
(9). Stir pasta while it is cooking, this will also help stop your pasta sticking together.
(10). Try not to drain your pasta in to a colander. It is better to use tonges to remove your pasta from the cooking water and add it to your sauce. The cooking water is also good to add to your sauce if it is a little thick.
There are many brands of dry pasta on the market, some good - but some not so good. In my opinion the best brands to look for are De Cecco, Faella, Molisana or Barilla. These are not the only brands available but they are the brands I use.