How to cook Fresh Pasta

Water quantity

A large 5 litre pot is recommended and left uncovered. Around 1 litre (4 cups) of water for every 100 grams of pasta. Salt quantity is 1-1/2 tablespoons to 500g  pasta. Some would argue and  prefer that the salt is added to the water prior to bringing it to a boil, we would disagree and recommend adding the salt to the water once it has reached the boiling stage, immediately adding  the pasta.

Fact: The high heat ‘sets’ the outside of the pasta and stops it sticking together; lots of water ensures the pasta can move freely and cook evenly; and salt is needed to bring out the flavour of the pasta, which is made without salt.

Cooking the Pasta

And don’t add oil to the water, it won’t do anything! Once the water reaches a rapid boil, then as above add salt then add the pasta. Cooking time starts from when the water returns to a boil  again. Cooking time is dependant on the shape. When the water is rapidly boiling, drop in the pasta stir around once, then place the lid on briefly so the pasta comes again to the boil and immediately remove lid once the boiling water returns. The Italians have a saying that they shout “Butta la pasta” throw in the pasta ! Just as they’re ready at the door for lunch, over cooked pasta is a big no no!

Fresh is  from 3-12mins fresh depending on the type of pasta ( wholemeal, frozen, fresh, or filled) and your “al dente” preference.

Dried is from 10-15 mins check the packet for instructions and test as instructed belowand with regards to your “al dente” preference.

A tip for filled fresh pasta and an exception to the rule is to drizzle a little oil when cooking filled pasta such as ravioli and tortellini  to help prevent splitting and friction.

fact: Most dried and fresh pasta doubles in volume when cooked

Testing & Tasting

To test if the pasta is ready, you simply taste a strand or a morsel. Most pasta coniseurs  enjoy pasta “al dente” to the tooth, just tender. while some  prefer it softer, this is preferential. Once the pasta is to your liking then drain and add to your sauce or if reserving then toss in a little olive oil to prevent the pasta sticking and store.

N.B. Remember that hot pasta will continue to cook after it is removed from the water.

Adding the pasta to the sauce.

After cooking your sauce whether it be a cream base or tomato, simply add your pasta and stir,  Usually this is done in the pan the sauce is cooked in, which also serves to keep the pasta warm, reserve some of the sauce to ladle over the dish prior to serving. Remember to use a large enough pan for the sauce to accommodate the pasta plus room to toss. Use a serving fork and spoon or tongs.  Either serve immediately or cover and allow the pasta to absorb the sauce a little.

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