Knowing how to make delicious pasta dishes is not difficult once you have a few key tricks rolled up with your sleeves.
Here are ten tips straight from our Italian kitchen on how to cook pasta.
1. Pasta should be cooked in a large quantity of boiling water so it has lots of room to roll around in the pot.
2. The water should be well salted. Add in a good quantity of salt to the water once it has come to the boil. A small handful of rock salt is best.
3. If you’re using plenty of well-salted water, there is no need to add oil to the pasta water. We promise.
4. Only once the water has returned to a rolling boil is it time to add the pasta.
5. If using dried spaghetti or other long pasta strands, you should never break the strands, but add them in whole.
6. When the pasta is cooking, you’ll need to stir it carefully a couple of times to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pot or clump together.
7. Pasta should never be overcooked, but should be cooked ‘al dente’, meaning it still has a bit of bite to it. Store-bought pasta will usually give an indication of cooking time, but you still should test it a minute or so before the suggested time to make sure you don’t overcook the pasta.
8. Once it is al dente, you will need to strain the pasta. For pasta like spaghetti or penne, you can use a colander. For stuffed pastas though like ravioli or tortellini, using a slotted spoon to carefully remove them from the water ensures they don’t break.
9. One strained, never leave pasta un-coated for a long period of time. Coat with the (correctly paired) sauce as quickly as possible.
10. Depending on the pasta sauce you’re using, returning the pasta back to the hot pan to coat with the sauce and allowing the flavours to blend for just a minute over a very low flame is another good tip for making pasta. You can also test if the seasoning needs adjusting.
We have great array of hands-on cooking classes in Tuscany if you’d like to enjoy a cooking class with a real Italian chef in a stunning, historical setting. Not only a great day out in Tuscany, a delicious lunch in Tuscany, but also a cookery course that will stay with you forever!