Does your pasta always end up soggy, pasty, and sad? You’ve tried under cooking but you end up with noodles with a lot of bite. But there’s no need to throw your pasta against the wall to know that it’s already cook. Follow this step-by-step guide to guarantee you al dente pasta every time.
Choose a big pot with a lid and fill it up with water, about ¾ of the way.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring heat up to a boil. Keep the lid on only until the water boils to save time and gas/electricity.
Use plenty of salt—about 1 tablespoon for every 2 liters of water. Remember, this mild salt flavor in the water will penetrate your pasta as it cooks.
When the salted water is already boiling rapidly, (i.e. bubbles are forming continuously on top), drop in the dried pasta. Stir immediately and bring water back to a rolling boil. Stir constantly to make sure the pasta does not stick together. Don not add any oil to the water!
For dried pasta, test for doneness after about six minutes. Take some tongs and scoop out a strand or two (for long noodles). Bite to test for doneness then check the mid section of the pasta. If It’s white in the center, it may need to boil a minutes or two longer. For pasta that will be simmered with some more sauce, cook it only up to this stage. Do this every 30 seconds until the pasta is just done, but still firm to the bite. Turn off the heat. You may pour a cup of tap water o bring the temperature down. Remember that the residual heat will cook the pasta some more.
Drain pasta by pouring into a colander, then into a wide rectangular tray to allow even cooling (preferably not a deep bowl because cooked pasta tend to clump). Do not drain water completely if pasta will be used later; a small amount of liquid will keep the pasta from sticking together. If using immediately, drain pasta completely and mix with the accompanying sauce. NEVER rinse out drained pasta as you will wash away the starchy coating that helps the sauce adhere to the pasta surface.
Reserve some of the pasta water to the mix with the accompanying pasta water to the mix with the accompanying sauce. The starch granules in this pasta water will help add some viscosity and body to the sauce. Use this liquid to thin out the sauce, if necessary.
Are your noodles cooked? Then make these incredible pasta dishes: