How to prepare pasta

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The proof is in the pasta
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Knowing how to prepare pasta the right way brings you lots of tasty meals

Pasta is a popular staple in just about everyone's diet. Not only is it delicious, but it's healthy, filling and oh-so-easy to make. It is also very versatile, going with just about everything and can be made into a side dish or the main course.

The key to a delicious dish is preparing it correctly. Once you know how to prepare pasta in the right way, you'll want to eat it everyday.

Dry Pasta

A dry, boxed product is so convenient, isn't it? It is already made and all you have to do is open the box and pour it into water. The only problem is, is that is often a bit more tricky than it sounds. The key to cooking it when dry is giving those hard little noodles lots of water and even more room to move.

Start by filling a large, sturdy pot with at least four quarts of water. Doing so allows it to move through the boiling water, which helps it cook and taste better.

You also want to add lots of salt to the water. This is the only chance you'll get to season, so as the water begins to boil, add at least 1 tbsp. of salt to the water. You'll really taste a difference in the final result.

Pour 1 lb. into the rolling water. Check to the box to see for how long it should cook. The average time is usually around six to ten minutes, depending on the type. Purists swear by cooking to the “al dente” doneness, which means it still has a little bite to it, but cook it to whatever texture you desire.

Stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other. If you're really worried about the noodles becoming stuck, pour about 1 tsp. of oil into the water before you add them. Doing so will keep the individual pieces from sticking together.

Fresh Pasta

Whenever you can, use fresh for your dishes. Although dry is quite delicious, fresh  is even more so. The texture is softer and you can really tell the difference in the taste when your base ingredients are fresh.

Making pasta yourself is a bit time consuming and can be quite difficult, so save yourself the hours in the kitched and the frustration by buying it fresh. Oftentimes you can find it fresh at your grocery store in the refrigerated section with the cheeses.

Again, you want to start with a nice, big pot and fill it with about a gallon of water. Although you can use water out of your tap, filtered water tends to taste better. Once it comes to a boil, season the water with sea salt. You can use regular table salt, but the sea salt gives the water and noodles better flavor.

Place it into the water, then allow it to come back up to a boil. Again, follow the directions on the package for cooking time, as it varies per noodle style. One thing you need to remember, however, is that fresh takes a shorter amount of time to cook than dry does, so make sure you check the noodles often to see if they are done to your liking.

Fresh typically takes anywhere from three to seven minutes to cook. Always take a bite out of the middle of the noodle when checking if it's done.

Learning how to prepare pasta correctly is a tool that can help you throughout your life. It is a healthy food that can be mixed with something as simple as butter, or more decadent ingredients such as seafood and vegetables. However you choose to enjoy it, the taste will be much better when it is cooked properly.

Resources: How to Prepare Pasta Perfectly

Pepperonata Pasta: How to Cook Fresh Pasta and Whole Wheat Fresh Pasta

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