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How To Cook Pasta, Basic Pasta Cooking

How To Make Perfect Pasta, For Soul Satisfying Meals

Pasta, Tofu and Veggies

Everybody should know how to cook pasta! It's a dietary staple, and better yet, it's soul food!

Many of us learned to make instant mac 'n' cheese as teens, and many adults still subsist on it, but pasta is so much more than mere subsistence!

If your pasta experiences have been filling but not fulfilling, here's the first step to pasta heaven.

Total prep & cook time: 30 min

6 Servings

Nutrition Data, 35g Serving: 125 cal, 28g carb, 1g fat, 1mg sodium, 4g fiber, 3g protein, low Cholesterol, Sat. Fat, good source Dietary Fiber, Estimated glycemic load 16

Pasta Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb dried pasta
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 6 quart pot
  • 4 quarts water
  • Large colander or strainer

Pasta Directions:

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  • Bring water to a rapid boil in a large pot
  • Add salt and olive oil
  • Gradually add dried pasta
  • Boil pasta until it is 'al dente' (Italian for 'tender but slightly chewy')
  • Set a large colander in the sink, and carefully drain the pasta, keeping the steam and boiling water away from exposed body parts
  • Stir pasta into sauce and serve hot
  • OR rinse cooked pasta in cold water to stop cooking and toss with oil to prevent sticking
  • Pasta is good mixed with a little tomato sauce or pesto, fresh or dried basil and oregano, maybe a few steamed veggies, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese

Recipe Tips:

A serving of cooked pasta can be anything from 1/2 cup to a cup and a half. It's highly individual.

Remember, it's not the pasta itself that's so fattening, it's what you dress it up with - the olive oil or butter, the sauces and cheeses.

Of course, you may be a purist with a taste for plain pasta - or you may just need to live a little! But just to be on the safe side, cut way back on the pasta if you're concerned about your weight, or you are diabetic. Eat whole grains instead: quinoa, brown rice, barley, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, oat groats.

Helpful Pasta Hints:

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  1. Buy a good quality pasta - there are many brands, they differ slightly in taste and texture, and you should try several, but resist the urge to settle for the cheapest house brand at the lowest price in the discount grocery. Those give pasta a bad name!
  2. Conventional wisdom has it that a large pot and plenty of rapidly boiling salted water are the key to producing excellent pasta. And it's true - that method works well. If you do this, just don't put a lid on the pot - it'll boil over
  3. But, if you only have a medium pot, and want to save water & energy, you can cook pasta in half as much water. After adding the pasta to the boiling water, stir until it comes back to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover, and let it sit for ten minutes. Works like a charm
  4. If you want to keep the cooked pasta for a while before dressing it up, or if you want it chilled for a salad: rinse cooked pasta in cold water to stop cooking and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking
  5. Adding olive oil to the cooking water keeps the water from foaming up and boiling over, but it's not strictly necessary. Just turn the burner down a bit if it foams up

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