Pasta is one of the easiest meals to cook and its variations a favorite among millions, if not billions of people across the world. But did you know that one of these simple mistakes can totally ruin your pasta? It’s true. Not only that, but making some of these mistakes can even lead to it taking longer to cook the pasta than it otherwise should.
If you are the chef in your household, it’s imperative that you are aware of these common mistakes, so you can be sure to avoid them in the future when preparing a delicious pasta dish!
1. Not checking on your pasta at the right time
Check your pasta at least two minutes before the suggested cooking time, as the time can vary depending on the amount of water, pasta and salt in the pot. Pasta becomes overcooked very quickly.
2. Not adding salt
Salt helps the pasta to retain its flavor when entering your mouth, allowing your mouth to differentiate the flavors of the pasta, sauce, and any meats that may be included. Without it, the pasta may come out bland and simply taste like the sauce. Salt should be added before the pasta is dropped into the water.
3. Using too small of a pot
If there isn’t enough water in the pot, the water temperature will drop when the pasta is added. The pasta will then take longer to cook, and as a result, it will become soggy.
4. Not stirring the pasta the moment you put it in
Have you ever cooked pasta and had big clumps of it stuck together? It’s because you forgot to stir the pasta immediately after putting it in the water. The pasta begins to cook immediately upon entering the water, so unless you like thick pasta clusters, stir it right away.
5. Not stirring the pasta while cooking
It’s not necessary to stir the whole time, but a couple of periodic stirs are needed to further prevent the pasta from sticking together. It will also ensure that all the pasta gets cooked evenly.
6. Throwing away pasta water
Ever notice how sometimes pasta is a slick mess? Check this out. Adding a small amount of pasta water to your sauce helps thicken it and prevent it from being sloppy. There’s starch left over in the water the pasta was cooked in, and that starch will bind the pasta and sauce together.
7. Not draining the pasta immediately after it’s done
Not draining the pasta right away will allow it to continue to cook which can overcook the pasta. If the pasta sits there so long that the water begins to cool then the pasta will begin sticking together.
8. Rinsing the pasta after draining it
The extra starch is stripped away if the pasta is rinsed, preventing the sauce from clinging to it.
9. Not adding the sauce to the pasta immediately
Pasta will stick together if they’re set aside after draining. More importantly, the sauce won’t stick to the pasta as well.
10. Not using short pasta for one-pot meals
If you’re making a one-pot pasta, short pasta should always be used. Longer pasta overcrowds the pot and makes it much more difficult to stir everything.
11. Not using the right pasta and sauce combination
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different pasta shapes? It’s because different shapes work better with certain types of sauces.
Cooking pasta like a pro is much easier when you’re aware of these very common errors. Now you’re equipped to make pasta dishes cooked to perfection every time.