The Perfect Pasta: Cooking Directions
pasta, of course
a. Put the water in the cooking pot. Light the fire, wait for the water to boil.
b. Add the salt. The quantity of salt depends on how much water you have there, however you can put a bit, simmer and taste the water. The taste should remind you sea water, as it has to be salty, however not too salty [in this case, add more water] but still, salty.
It's because of the salt that pasta gains the perfect flavour. No salt in boiling water means tasteless pasta.
c. Add the pasta. simmer.
d. Check the pasta pack.. let's assume it says the pasta will be ready in 10 minutes. Do not trust it. Around 8 minutes, start trying a piece of pasta. Is it hard? It needs more cooking. Wait another minute/couple of minutes. Taste again. Any softer? Still too hard? So wait another bit. Pasta doesn't always respect cooking directions printed. It's a basic to taste it.
When you think it's ready, take it off and mix with your sauce [may be pesto, tomato and basil sauce, vegetables sauces, ragout.. whatever. Even simple butter and oil make a great ensemble with pasta].
Put in the plate and voilà, you made the perfect pasta! Congratulations!
Pairs Well With
I've just signed up on being a mentor in pasta. I could have done it for Italian cuisine, that I know very well, or on muffins, a big liking of mine.
However, pasta is kind of 'basics' and I often see horrors coming out from foreigners attempts on cooking it. No wonder that pasta outside Italy is often, well, mushy and tasteless.
Here are a few simple tips on how to properly cook pasta. Mind that there are some recipes that do not apply / do not completely apply to this method [not all of the recipes end with 'mix with your sauce of choice and all is well :)], however these are the guidelines everyone should always know and do when cooking proper pasta.