Pasta is a favourite in many restaurants as well as in homes. But cooking it right is a technique that can be mastered with experience and a dose of expert advice. How often have you tried cooking pasta the right way? How often has it gotten overcooked and turned soggy, or has remained undercooked and hard? If ‘al dente’ is what you are looking for, then we have a few tips doled out by a pasta expert himself.
‘’Al dente in Italian means to the tooth. The basic idea is cooking dried pasta so that it retains a bit of firmness to the bite and is not overcooked,’’ says Sous Chef Goutam Debnath from The Oterra in Bangalore. If pasta is cooked al dente, it gives you the right ‘’bite’’, while being tender without any hint of being mushy.
Cooking pasta starts off by taking adequate amount of water: about 4 to 5 cups for every cup of pasta that is to be cooked.
Chef Debnath suggests a few tricks to get it right:
- Start by boiling the pot of water
- Add in a pinch of salt
- Then drop in the pasta, stir and let it cook for 5-7 minutes
- Keep cooking in 30-second intervals until it is firm but no longer crunchy
- Always save some cooking water, don’t drain dry
If the pasta does turn soggy…sauté it, says Chef. “One solution to overcooked pasta is to throw it in a pan with a little butter or olive oil and sauté over low heat. This can make it a little crisp, allowing you to salvage dinner. Add some garlic or parmesan cheese for the extra kick and to disguise the overcooked flavour of the pasta,” adds Chef Debnath.
Relish the perfect bite!