Pasta cooking tips (including gluten-free)
Pasta is the foundation of many easy meals, but cooking it just right may seem tricky. Follow these tips for making perfect pasta:
- Pasta expands quite a bit, so use a big enough pot and plenty of salted water.
- Stir pasta frequently to avoid having it stick and clump together.
- Follow directions on the package for cooking time; and check it early to make sure it's not overdone (too soft).
- Cook pasta until al dente, meaning "to the tooth." When you bite into a piece of pasta you should feel a slight resistance in the center — it should be firm and not soft.
- Pasta continues to cook after it is drained so take it off the heat just before it reaches the al dente stage.
- Don't rinse pasta after it's been drained, since you'll wash away starches that help the sauces coat it.
Cooking Gluten-free pasta
- Set your timer — gluten-free pastas can go from al dente to mushy in no time.
- Prevent stickiness by adding a couple teaspoons of oil to the water before adding the pasta and stirring the pasta often.
- Rinse gluten-free pasta after cooking — run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking and to keep it al dente.
- When making soup, add noodles at the end of cooking as they will not hold up to long boiling or simmering.
- Serve right away — gluten-free pastas can turn mushy, firm or gritty as they cool.