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.

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