How hard can it be to make pasta? Isn’t it just boiling water? That’s what I used to think. To me, the hardest thing about making pasta was waiting for the water to boil (I can be very impatient). But there is more to a great pasta dish than just dumping noodles into hot water as anyone who has ever had a dish of gummy, sticky, bland spaghetti might tell you. Having some Italian heritage, I feel a responsibility to know how to make great pasta dishes like the ones my mother made every single Sunday (along with matzoh ball soup for our Jewish side). I also have a duty to pass this knowledge along to others so you can all benefit from my many, many mistakes. These are the most common mistakes people make when cooking pasta (in order of the cooking process) and how to avoid them:
As soon as you add the pasta to the water, stir it with long tongs or a wooden spoon. Do this often while the pasta cooks. Stirring the noodles will prevent them from sticking together. Keep the pasta moving around the pot. It won’t clump and it will cook consistently.
6. Undercooking or Overcooking the Pasta go well with thicker, long noodles such as fettuccine. Chunky sauces, especially those with lots of veggies, go best with shorter pasta such as penne or rotini. Choosing the right pasta for the sauce is important for a pleasurable eating experience…and just keeping the food on the fork.
When pasta is cooked correctly, it can become the base of an endless number of decadent dishes. Here’s hoping these tips help make your next pasta dinner a meal to remember…for good reasons. Mangia!