Do you like to eat pasta? Many people do! Frenchman Antoine Zerega officially brought pasta to America when he opened his factory in Brooklyn, New York in 1848. Since that time, Americans have been chowing down on spaghetti, shells, macaroni, fettucine, fusilli, and capellini, just to name a few of the six hundred types of pasta being made today. In fact, statistics show that pasta is a favorite food of kids. It’s also estimated that pasta is served about once a week in American households. So, if you love to eat and serve it, let’s learn how to properly cook pasta.
Pasta comes in a variety of forms. The most common pasta is spaghetti. One of the biggest problems with cooking spaghetti, or any form of pasta for that matter, is knowing how much to cook. Since pasta increases in volume once you cook it, you can easily end up with too little or too much. To measure the right amount of spaghetti, so you can properly cook pasta, here’s a handy rule of thumb to remember: one serving, or two ounces of spaghetti bunched together is about the diameter of a nickel.
You can figure out how to measure out other forms of pasta by using weight if it’s dry, and cups if it’s cooked. Another rule of thumb to properly cook pasta, is to figure that one pound of dry pasta will feed four people.
I have to add a note here, that in order to properly cook pasta, it helps if you buy the best pasta.
Look for pasta that’s made of nothing but Durum wheat. Durum wheat creates a finer quality spaghetti, shells, macaroni, and so on. It holds its shape during cooking better.
Now, to properly cook spaghetti, shells, macaroni, or any type of pasta, you’ll need a large pot and about four to six quarts of tap water per pound of pasta you want to cook. You don’t need to add cooking oil or butter to the water. As long as the pasta has plenty of water and room to cook in, it won’t stick together. When you add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, stir it with a long-handled fork to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Follow the instructions on the package to determine the approximate cooking time. However, to properly cook pasta, use a long-handled fork and carefully pull a piece of it out of the large pot. Do this about three minutes before the time runs out. Bite down on the pasta with your teeth. If it’s softened, but yet it’s a bit chewy, then it’s “al dente”, or done.
To properly cook pasta, drain the spaghetti, shells, macaroni, or whatever type of pasta you’ve chosen, but don’t rinse it unless you’re going to use it in a cold dish. The starch (what makes cooked pasta sticky) actually helps the sauce stick to it.
If you’re watching your weight, you can still enjoy a small bowl of spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, Fettucini Alfredo, or Manicotti. A cup of cooked spaghetti by itself, for example, contains only two hundred calories, forty grams of carbohydrates, and no cholesterol.