I was recently asked how to keep pasta from sticking once it’s cooked and drained. First we need to understand why pasta gets sticky. There is a list of reasons and the two at the top would be not cooking the pasta in enough water and overcooking.
When pasta cooks it loses starch into the water. If there isn’t enough water this will cause the pasta to be gummy. Rinsing pasta after its drained won’t help. Use at least one gallon of cooking water per one pound of pasta, plus 1 teaspoon of salt. Using a large pot is important as the boiling noodles need to move freely while they cook.
As for the overcooking, pasta should be taken off the heat and drained when it is not quite done. This can only be determined by removing a piece from the boiling water and biting into it. Once the pasta is drained it will continue to cook through its residual heat. Throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks is just a good way to dirty a wall.
The amount of cooking time for pasta can vary. The variables include, but are not limited to, the hardness of the water and the thickness of the pasta. So it would seem that we cannot count on boiling for a specific amount of time.
Linguini with Garlic Butter and Parmesan Cheese, Serves 6
1 lb linguini noodles
1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 Tbl dried parsley
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of water, at least 1 gallon, to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Drop in the noodles and give a stir. Simmer the noodles until not quite done. Drain.
While noodles are cooking melt the butter in a large sauté pan and add the garlic. Once the butter has melted turn off the heat, do not brown the garlic. When noodles are ready to be drained, turn heat back on the sauté pan. Place drained noodles in the pan with butter and garlic, stir to coat noodles well. Stir in cheese and parsley. Taste for seasoning with salt. Enjoy.