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    How to cook perfect pasta every time and the common mistakes to avoid

    You might think it’s the most simple thing in the world, but lots of us have been cooking pasta wrong our whole lives. Follow our step by step instructions and be confident that all pasta will be perfect pasta, from now on.

    Use more water than you think

    For ease of cooking, choose a roomy pot for your pasta. Not only will it stop the pasta from sticking, it will cook more evenly with lots of water bubbling around it.

    Look for a rolling boil

    A rolling boil is a slightly violent, rumble on the top of the water. You want more than just a few fizzy bubbles here.

    Season like the sea

    Seasoning, of course, is your preference, but the Italians season their cooking water liberally and their pasta always tastes excellent. I favour a good, decent tablespoon for a large pot of water. I use fine sea salt for this. Not table salt, always sea salt, but fine sea salt, and definitely not the expensive kind. It is important to taste your seasoned water because you will use this to finish the sauce later. You do not want to pucker after tasting it. This means you have added too much salt, so dilute before adding to the pasta.

     

    Undercook

    The Italians eat their pasta much more underdone than we do here. Always aim for an end result of ‘al dente’ meaning a bite in the middle. You do not want sloppy pasta. So, when a packet says 12 minutes cooking time, stop cooking at 9 minutes.

    Reserve the cooking liquid

    Reserve at least half a mug of cooking liquid when draining your pasta. This will make your sauce glossy and more delicious and will help the pasta cling to the oil.

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    Finish in the sauce

    Finish cooking your pasta in the sauce. Tip your pasta, reserved cooking water and sauce into the pot and cook for a further three minutes, until al dente and the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Taste for seasoning, add pepper and Parmesan liberally and serve.

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    Pretoria
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