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  Cooking Pasta—a Primer



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2-6 ounces dry per person or 1/2—1 1/2 cups cooked per person
1-2 teaspoons of salt per pound of pasta (optional)

Fill a large saucepan with 4-6 quarts of cool water—the pan should only be 1/2 –2/3 filled
to leave room for the pasta to expand. Place pan on high heat and cover. Bring to a rolling
boil—large bubbles will break the surface of the water. If you use salt, add it now—adding
salt before the water boils makes it take longer to boil. Stir in pasta and return water to
boil—do not cover. Stir once during cooking so pasta does not stick. At the recommended
minimum cooking time, test pasta by scooping out a piece and biting it. The texture should
be cooked through, with slight resistance in the center—al dente (the Italian term for how
pasta should be cooked) means “to the tooth.” Too firm? Continue to cook and test. If you
are using a lot of sauce or baking the pasta, you want the pasta a little firmer than if you are
serving it immediately. Have the colander or strainer ready so that as soon as the pasta is
done it can be removed from the water. Do not rinse. Use immediately.

Copyright © 2009 Stefanie Samara Hamblen