I don't know how to cook: 7 common mistakes we make with pasta

Pasta is often the saving dish for lazy days and empty fridges. But they are also a perfect base to combine with a divine homemade sauce, for a menu worthy of a restaurant. Whatever the ambition of the final dish – simple or elaborate – cooking the pasta remains essential, since it is often the only preparation to be carried out before tasting.

Mistake #1: not waiting for it to boil

Should you put your pasta in hot or cold water? A few years ago, a debate ignited Twitter on this subject. If you can put your pasta in cold water then increase the temperature, the experts on the subject were unanimous in specifying that this method could spoil the consistency of the pasta, and that the cooking time became approximate! Without being impossible, we keep the classic method which has proven itself for a long time, namely we add pasta and salt once the water boils, and we count the cooking time as soon as the boiling resumes.

Good to know: adding salt to the water must be done after boiling so that it dissolves immediately and does not stagnate at the bottom of the pan and damage it due to its corrosive effect. The latter would also limit the “sticky” effect of the pasta.

Mistake #2: putting too much pasta in your pan

There is a rule for cooking pasta: 1-10-100.
For 100g of pasta, you need 10g of salt (this dosage can be reduced to 7/8g), and 1l of water. This will give the dough plenty of room to expand and be mixed.

Often, pasta sticks together because there is not enough space in the pan and the volume of water is not large enough.

Mistake #3: not stirring during cooking

When you cook pasta, you don’t leave it completely unattended. We make sure to stir them from time to time, always for even cooking and to prevent them from sticking together.

Mistake #4: Adding olive oil to the cooking water

The famous addition of olive oil to the cooking water to prevent the pasta from sticking… We write it again and again: it’s useless, and above all it’s a waste, since olive oil olive will most often end up in the pipes. If you add the right amount of pasta and water, remembering to stir during cooking, the pasta will not stick.

Mistake #5: overcooking your pasta

Cooking al dente is recommended for different reasons. The texture firstly for pasta that retains a certain hold (if it is still very crunchy, you can extend the cooking time) but also to avoid a spike in blood sugar. Indeed, al dente pasta is categorized as “slow sugars” which release glucose gradually, while overcooked pasta becomes “fast sugars” which cause a glucose spike. And who says a spike in glucose, says a sudden drop that can cause cravings, fatigue, mood swings, hormonal imbalances, etc.

Mistake #6: throwing away all the cooking water

Do you drain your pasta perfectly after cooking? Yes, but no, you should always keep a little cooking water to add it to the sauce and thus obtain a creamy mixture as desired. How much to keep? Reserve a ladle or two depending on the quantity of pasta. If in doubt, reserve more than you need just in case!

In any case, don’t throw away the pasta water, you can always keep it for a hair treatment before shampooing, a relaxing foot bath thanks to its minerals, or as fertilizer.

Mistake #7: Adding pasta sauce

Do you add the sauce to the pasta once cooked? It works, we agree, but it is better to go the other way, namely to add the cooked pasta to the sauce.

The ideal is to prepare the hot sauce separately in a frying pan for example, then add the drained pasta and a little cooking water. We mix everything for a few moments, the famous step that the Italians call “mantecare” (from the verb “mantecare”: to mix in French) so that the starch contained in the pasta cooking water mixes with the sauce. Thus, when cooking, the binding occurs, everything becomes creamy and coats everything deliciously.

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