Many of our Terlato Kitchen Recipes call for pasta. Did you know that something as simple as boiling your pasta too long could ruin the entire dish? When striving for the perfectly cooked pasta, aim for al dente. For those who do not know, al dente is an Italian phrase meaning “to the tooth.” You want the pasta to have a little bite left when it is part of the final dish. Follow our tips and enjoy firm pasta delicately coated in the most delicious sauce.
The good news is, all you have to do is pay attention to the timing in order to cook pasta properly and you will get it down to a science. When using pasta out of the box, always cook it 1 – 2 minutes less than the directions tell you. You may even need to cook it less in cases where you are asked to add the pasta to the sauce while cooking or add pasta to a dish that will be finished in the oven.
Make sure you use plenty of water, 4 to 6 quarts in most cases, to give the pasta room. Remember, it takes quite a while for a large pot to come to a complete boil so get that pot on early. There is no harm in letting water boil until you are ready to drop the pasta. Fire it before you do your prep. It is essential to salt the water after it comes to a boil. This is your only chance to add flavor to the pasta itself. Stirring the pasta after adding it to the water reduces sticking.
Pull a piece of pasta out a couple of minutes before the directions indicate and take a bite. If the outside is soft and the very inside is still firm, you may think it is underdone but that may be the goal. The fact is that pasta continues to cook as it drains, as it is tossed in the hot sauce, and even as it sits waiting to be served.
One more thing that we learned recently, al dente pasta has a lower glycemic index than soft cooked. Another reason to perfect the simple task of preparing pasta.