How to cook al dente pasta perfectly every time

A pasta specialist shares fail-proof tips, as well as common mistakes to avoid.

How to cook al dente pasta perfectly every time

Photo: Straits Times

Linguine, fusilli, farfalle... Whatever your fancy, whipping up a plate of pasta at home seems easy enough. Until, the gooey pasta turns your spaghetti bolognese into spaghetti bleurgh.

To cook al dente ("to the tooth" in Italian) or chewy spaghetti every single time, Chef Luca Ciano from Italian pasta brand Barilla cracks down on common mistakes and shares his top tips.

1. Use enough water

Go on, fill your pot. More water helps to dilute the starch content so that the pasta does not turn sticky. As a general guide, use one litre of water and 10g of salt for every 100g of pasta.

2. Undercook the pasta by one or two minutes

Undercooking the pasta by just a touch will ensure it is perfectly al dente by the time it's thoroughly mixed with the piping hot sauce. Mangiamo ("Eat up!")

3. Don't add oil to the boiling water

This won't keep the pasta from turning sticky. What it will do is coat your pasta with oil as you remove it from the water - and prevent it from soaking up the tasty sauce you've prepared.

4. Don't rinse cooked pasta under cold water

Doing so washes away the pasta's flavour and nutrients, including starch that binds sauce to it.


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