How to Cook and Boil Pasta
One of the most important skills to learn when preparing Italian food is how to cook pasta, which boils down to … how to boil pasta. Exactly! While it might seem simple, there are some basic rules that will ensure that your pasta is cooked impeccably every time and, luckily for you, Mamma Giuliana is here to share her insider tips on cooking both fresh and dried pasta in her latest video.
Whether you are making fresh egg pasta from scratch or simply opening a packet of dried pasta, the way that you cook it will make the world of difference to the taste and texture of the finished dish. There are many elements to take into account: the amount of water, how much salt, and how long you cook it will all affect how your recipe turns out. The pasta should be cooked al dente, which translates as ‘to the tooth’, meaning that there should be a slight ‘bite’ to it. Not only do Italians abhor overcooked pasta because of its soggy texture, but it is also harder to digest, leaving you feeling sluggish and bloated.
In the video, Mamma Giuliana explains her own, personal, pasta-cooking technique. In her years of experience in the kitchen, she has amassed a wealth of tips that will help you to nail flawless results every time. Tasting the pasta during cooking will help you identify when it is exactly the consistency you prefer. Also, making sure you use a large pan with plenty of water will prevent the pasta from becoming gluey or stodgy. Salt should be added when the water is boiling and the amount should be regulated depending on the sauce you will be adding. Fresh pasta needs to be thrown in boiling water for just a matter of minutes and adding a dash of oil to the water will help to stop the pasta sticking together.
If you want the perfect proportion of pasta, water, and salt see at the amounts below which come from one of our favorite Italian cookbooks, Il Talismano della Felicità. Here’s what the book says:
- half a liter of water for every 100 grams of pasta
- 10 grams of salt for every liter of water
Consider about 100 gr of pasta per person. For 2 people: 200 gr of pasta, 1 liter of water, 10 gr of salt. For 4 people: 400 gr of pasta, 2 liters of water, 20 gr of salt. And so forth.