Busy home cooks know that a box of pasta and a jar of sauce are simple ingredients for a hot meal that fills the belly and satisfies the family. It seems easy to just boil noodles and pour on the sauce. But there are some things you might be doing wrong when preparing this quick and easy meal. Avoid these mistakes to enjoy the perfect al dente pasta with just the right amount of flavorful sauce.
9. Using the Wrong Size Pot
When cooking pasta, be sure to choose a pot that will allow for the expansion of your noodles as they cook and absorb water. This will prevent the pasta from clumping and sticking together. Interestingly, Italian cooks throughout time have insisted that pasta be cooked in large vats of water to maintain the boiling temperature and prevent mushiness. The test kitchen at Epicurious experimented with water and discovered that pasta cooked just as well in smaller amounts of water. Just be sure to boil enough cold, fresh water to cover the pasta.
8. Not Bringing Water to a Full Boil
In an effort to speed up the process, you may be tempted to add the pasta to your pot too soon. While you may think that hot water is just as effective as boiling water, your noodles will not cook properly. Steeping noodles in water that is just hot, not boiling, leaves them mushy. Allow your water to come to a vigorous boil before adding your noodles and you will have perfectly cooked pasta to enjoy.