Are you cooking your pasta properly? October 25, 2019
Pasta is a firm family favourite in many Aussie households, bringing a little taste of Italia to dinnertime.
You want your pasta to be cooked al dente. This translates to ‘to the tooth’ in Italian, meaning you should use your teeth to chew it. Basically, al dente is the happy medium between undercooked and tough, and slimy and overdone.
It can be harder than it looks to cook pasta to perfection, so we’ve put together some of our top tips from the HelloFresh kitchen.
Cook pasta like a pro
1. Use more water than you think you’ll need. Pasta releases starch into the cooking water as it boils. Less water in your pot means more starch, which means your pasta is more likely to stick together when it drains.
2. Salt the water generously to help season the pasta and give your finished dish more flavour!
3. Add your pasta to the water only after it’s started boiling rigorously. The temperature of the water drops after you add the pasta, and it’s hard for it to reach that rolling boil once more after the pasta has gone in.
4. Stir your pasta every few minutes to help it cook evenly and also to prevent it sticking together as it cooks.
5. Save some pasta water to add to your sauce. The starch in the water will give the sauce a beautiful texture.
Cooking myths debunked!
MYTH 1: You should rinse the pasta once it’s cooked.
In fact, this will actually get rid of the starch, which is what gives the sauce a tasty texture. You would only rinse cooked pasta if it’s going in a cold pasta salad.
MYTH 2: You can pair any pasta shape with any sauce.
Wrong! Short, tubular or moulded pasta shapes like penne, fusilli and farfalle are great for holding onto chunky sauces like pesto, puttanesca and meat ragus. Longer strand pastas like spaghetti or fettuccine pair beautifully with smooth sauces like carbonara and alfredo.
MYTH 3: Throw pasta on the wall to check if it’s done.
While this may be fun, it won’t tell you much. The best way to test if your pasta is done is to taste it. If it’s firm, slightly chewy and cooked through (with no white in the middle), you’re good to go!
Gluten-free? Not to worry!
There’s heaps of tasty pasta alternatives available these days, and a lot of them can be just as delicious as traditional wheat pasta.
Pulse pasta is made using flour from pulses such as chickpeas, lentils and peas instead of wheat. As well as tasting delicious, it’s also a great source of protein and fibre.
Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Wanting to keep your bolognese low calorie? Add zoodles for an added veggie hit. They can be made with a spiralizer or julienne peeler, and can be blanched or steamed.
Eggplant shares the same spongy texture as cooked pasta, so it absorbs lots of the sauces flavour. This makes it a super healthy alternative to lasagne sheets.