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4 Ways to Perfect Your Pasta

From boiling it to slurping it, here’s how to achieve the perfect bowl of noodles, every time.

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How to cook perfect pastaPhoto: ShutterStock

How to Get Perfect Pasta, Every Time!

 

Although there are more than 150 types of pasta, the average Canadian kitchen uses only a half-dozen varieties. If you’re going to stick to the basics, why not do it right? Here’s how!

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Bit of Bite

For Pasta with a Bit of Bite…

Pasta that’s cooked too long will be soggy; not long enough and it’ll be crunchy. Aim for a slightly firm al dente texture, which Lorenzo Boni, executive chef of Barilla America, calls the ideal consistency: “It takes longer to digest and lets you better absorb the nutrients.”

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Grain of Salt

Take Your Pasta with a Grain of Salt

To achieve an al dente dish, salt water after it boils, not before. This will slow the heating process. “The flavour  will infuse into the pasta as it cooks,” says Boni, who recommends ¼ oz  (7 g) of salt per 4 cups (1 L) of water.

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In Hot Water

In Hot Water

Add the pasta only once the water is boiling-dumping it into a cold pot guarantees a sticky disaster. Boni suggests 20 cups (5 L) of water per  1 lb (½ kg) of noodles.

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Keep Things Saucy

Keep Things Saucy

“Long pasta is best with sauces that stick, while shorter is great with ingredients that can be tossed together,” says Rob Gentile, executive chef at Toronto’s Buca restaurant. “For spaghetti, use a simple pomodoro: tomatoes, basil, olive oil. For shorter pasta like orecchiette, get chunkier pieces of veggies, meat  or seafood.”