How to cook pasta like an Italian

  • How to cook pasta like an Italian
By Francine Segan, author of "Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy"
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang, available October 1, 2013).

5 Rules Not to Ruin Pasta

Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy by Francine Segan
  • Start with cold water, not hot.

    Hot water passes through different pipes and picks up more impurities. Use at least 1 quart for every 1/4 pound of pasta.

  • Do not add the pasta until the water boils.

    Water must be rapidly boiling before you put in the pasta, otherwise the pasta becomes gummy.

  • Never put oil in the water.

    It prevents the pasta from releasing its starch and absorbing the sauce.

  • Use the time on the box only as a general guideline.

    The ideal cooking time will vary due to personal preferences, amount of water in the pot, and many other factors. The best way to tell if pasta is ready is to taste it. Start tasting 3 to 4 minutes before the package’s suggested cooking time.

  • Never leave pasta unattended.

    You need to be nearby the boiling pot to give it the occasional stir so the pasta doesn’t stick. Pasta has been around for centuries; it should be respected. Give it your time and your attention.

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