perfect pastaPasta can be a tricky dish to perfect. Sometimes it sticks together, sometimes it’s still a bit crunchy, sometimes it’s really, really overcooked. Pretty much everyone has trouble cooking their macaroni or spaghetti.

But worry not! “Team Duncan” is here with a few simple tips to help you become the Pasta Master!

  1. Use a large pot – pasta needs a lot of water to cook in, as it will absorb some and swell. You don't need to add oil to the water – this will not stop pasta from sticking together while it cooks.
  2. Add a small amount of salt to the water to add flavour – the pasta will absorb some of the salty taste and prevent it from being bland (honestly, have you tried plain pasta? It has almost the same ingredients as basic glue, not very tasty!).
  3. Stir the pasta frequently – if you don’t stir, the pasta will stick to itself and the pot, causing it to cook unevenly or burn the bottom of the pot.
  4. Cook until the pasta is ‘al dente’ – this means still slightly firm in the centre, not all squishy and soft.
  5. Different pastas will have different cooking times – check the packaging for the recommended time, but keep an eye on it and check for that magical ‘al dente’ moment.
  6. Strain the pasta – do this as soon as it’s ready; don’t leave it in the pot with the hot water or it will overcook.
  7. Don’t run the pasta under cold water – there seems to be a few reasons why people do this, such as thinking they are preventing stickiness or overcooking, but it won’t make a lot of difference in either case. Rinsing the pasta will remove the natural starches and make it more difficult for your sauce to bind to it.
  8. If you are using the pasta immediately, add it to your sauce and mix in. If you are storing the pasta or using it in a cold dish, such as pasta salad, you can add a small amount of oil now and mix through to prevent it from sticking together as it cools.

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Chef Duncan

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