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Pasta Tips

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How to stop over-cooking pasta and why you need to reserve a few spoons of pasta water when cooking pasta.
– When pasta is just cooked al dente, throw a cup of cold water into the saucepan to bring the temperature down – it will stop it from over-cooking. Drain the pasta and use it immediately.
– It’s a good idea to keep a few spoons of the pasta water to add to your sauce when you are heating it through with the cooked pasta. The starch in the pasta cooking water will thicken the sauce and bind the pasta to it. This is especially important when your sauce contains cheese where the hot starchy liquid helps to emulsify it.

– Some Italian chefs toss the cooked pasta in the sauce while others insist that you add the sauce to the pasta. The first method works well for Spaghetti Carbonara where you add hot pasta to a mixture of eggs and cheese and the second works better if you have made too much sauce and need to control how much you add to the pasta.

– When you are making Spaghetti Carbonara heat the black pepper in olive oil in a pan first to toast it and bring out the flavour. It will transform your Carbonara. Always warm the bowl before you mix the egg mixture with the hot pasta or the eggs will congeal.

– When you are tossing the hot pasta with the sauce over heat for a few minutes before you serve it, then it is better to slightly undercook your pasta – al dente. Otherwise the heat will continue cooking the pasta and your pasta will arrive at the table over-cooked. However, if you are adding to the pasta to a cold sauce, say to eggs and cheese in a Spaghetti Carbonara, where the sauce will not finish cooking the pasta, you’ll need to make sure the pasta is fully cooked.

 

 

Photograph © foodpixies.com

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