Pasta is the carb we all cherish and deserve. It is not excessively arduous to prepare, and sometimes it is a lifesaver when you are left with nothing in the fridge.
It is astonishingly delicious and tasty, and it is so versatile it can be served in so many ways, with tons of pasta sauces and recipes to watch out for.
Although it is reasonably easy and quick to prepare, sometimes it might happen to drain it a little earlier than its cooking time. The result is uncooked pasta.
Or at least, if not totally uncooked, you will have hard pasta. Also, called ‘al dente’, it might be someone’s favorite, but not everyone likes pasta that way.
So, what is the secret to obtaining thoroughly cooked pasta every single time you prepare it? Read more to find out all the tips and tricks to cook pasta and noodles to perfection every single time.
How do you properly cook pasta?
Pasta is the life-saver meal for busy people and university students all over the world. The way to cook pasta is pretty straightforward but if you ask an Italian person about it, it will be all about traditions.
The first step is to take a big enough pot and include cold water in it. Place it on medium to high heat and cover it with a lid. Do not remove the lid until you bring the water to a boiling temperature.
Boiling the water before adding the pasta is extremely important. Bringing the pasta water to a boil is necessary because it sets a time mark to start cooking your pasta.
When the water is already boiling hot, the pasta will have less time to sit around in the water. This will lower the chances to get mushy or chewy pasta.
If you are in a rush and cannot wait for the water to boil gradually, it is also convenient to boil the water in a kettle and add the pasta afterward.
Once the water is bubbling and boiling in the pot, add the salt. Salting the water before adding your pasta in will give you a more satisfactory result than salting it afterward.
As the salt is diluted in the water, it is finally time to drop the uncooked pasta in. Place all the portions in one smooth move, and set the timer to however long the pasta requires it to.
Once the timer goes off, sample the pasta to make sure it is cooked properly. If it is still a little hard, it is okay to cook it for another minute or two.
If you like to make pasta softer rather than cooked normally, it is also okay to let it cook for three minutes or more.
Once you turn off the heat, drain your pasta noodles. Make sure to get rid of all the water in your noodles by shaking it gently inside the colander.
When all the excess water is gone, you can either mix your pasta in with the ready-made sauce or add it and cook it in with your homemade sauce for an extra minute.
Do not allow it to cook for too long, otherwise, your pasta will turn extremely soft and mushy. It is equally possible to include the pasta in your hot homemade sauce while the heat is off so that you will not risk over-cooking it.
Once your noodles are all mixed up with the sauce or condiments, your pasta is ready to be served. Place them in a pasta bowl or a deep plate, and that is it!
It might sound like a lengthy process, but this will take you no longer than ten to a maximum of fifteen minutes!
How do you know when pasta is done?
Anyone can cook pasta, even the worst cook ever! Pasta sauce is a little more complicated to get done, but if you are going to use a ready-made sauce, you have your meal sorted in a matter of minutes.
To know when your pasta is done, there are a few simple steps you can follow in order to ensure your pasta has cooked properly throughout.
First of all, have a look at the packaging before placing your pasta portion in the water. The packaging will have instructions on how to cook your pasta to perfection, and it will give you the exact number of minutes necessary to cook it properly.
Another method to check if your pasta is ready to avoid eating undercooked noodles is to taste it towards the end of its cooking.
On the odd occasion, pasta might be ready a minute or two before the cooking time described on the box. As a result, an infallible method is to taste it before draining it.
If you have already drained your pasta and do not have the pasta water at hand anymore, things can get a little more complicated.
It’s nothing that you will not be able to fix, so make sure to read more to get some ideas on how to rescue your amazing meal.
How to fix undercooked pasta?
If you end up with undercooked pasta, do not worry just yet. See if your situation applies to one of the following:
- If you have not added your pasta sauce or if you have not drained your pasta yet, your meal is still salvageable. Place the pot with the boiling water back on medium to high heat and continue cooking it until it is ready to be consumed.
- If you have drained it and have already added your pasta sauce to it, there is still something you can do. Take your steaming, empty pot and place your pasta mixed with your sauce back in it. Set it on a gentle heat and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
Not only will it help heat your pasta sauce, but if you end up with undercooked pasta, it will also soften pasta after cooking it. This is a tremendous way to make pasta softer, but it does not always work.
If you notice that you got slightly undercooked pasta a little too late when the meal is already warm, or even cold, it is probably too late and it is not much you can do at that point.
It still is not the right time to completely give up yet. But the question comes up naturally at this point, and it is also totally legitimate to ask: is it okay to eat undercooked pasta?
What happens if you eat undercooked pasta?
Eating undercooked pasta is not dangerous or hazardous to people’s health. If it is a little harder than it should be, it is not a problem, unless you eat it in copious quantities.
This applies only to store-bought, dehydrated pasta. It is comparatively safe to eat, even completely raw. But it has to be eaten in small portions, every once in a while.
Eating raw pasta time and time again will eventually have consequences on the health of your guts and intestines. That will require supervision from a doctor or a specialist and even medical procedures.
When we talk about fresh pasta, things change a little bit. As the main ingredients for pasta are usually flour, water, and eggs, it might be like eating raw cookie dough or raw pancake batter.
It would be safe to avoid eating raw fresh pasta. This kind of pasta is ready in a matter of minutes, so it would be easier and tastier to cook them properly rather than eating them raw.
If we are talking about uncooked spaghetti noodles, those are reasonably safe to eat too. If you boil them, but they are still a little harder, that is not a problem at all.
To tell the truth, there are people who actually prefer eating their pasta a little harder, or ‘al dente’, rather than soft.
Can you eat undercooked pasta?
The easy answer is yes, you can totally eat undercooked pasta. It is not the healthiest of meals, and probably not the most pleasing thing you will ever have, but it is not dangerous either.
Slightly harder than usual pasta, or even ‘al dente’, is totally fine to ingest, as long as it is not cooked that way and consumed as standard practice every day. Or if not every day, as long as it is not eaten often.
Consuming raw or undercooked pasta often will cause your guts and intestine to suffer from it, and it might be necessary to go seek a doctor’s advice too.
But if raw or undercooked pasta is consumed every once in a while, it does not put anyone’s health at risk.
On the other hand, it might happen that, in fear of eating undercooked pasta, you overcook your pasta a little bit too much.
Now, eating overcooked pasta is not dangerous either, but it is quite chewy and mushy. As a result, it is not the best way to enjoy it during your meal.
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