In terms of pasta cooking methodology, all I’ve ever known was to add dried pasta to boiling salted water. But have you ever considered a different, and debatably faster, method?
I first heard about this method on an episode of Alton Brown’s podcast, The Alton Browncast. He suggested adding noodles to salted water BEFORE bringing the water to the boil. While the concept might seem ridiculous or weird to you, I really recommend using this cooking method the next time you want to make pasta.
I think this technique works the best with small pastas like macaroni or penne, and quite frankly, those are usually the ones I have trouble cooking properly. Not only does this method cut down cooking time, it also makes it easier to get pasta cooked perfectly al dente….if you do it right.
My tips for trying this out:
1. Use a ratio of 4:1 in terms of water to pasta- too little water can really make a difference in the texture of the pasta.
2. Try not to keep the pot covered after five minutes or else it might boil over.
3. Stir the pasta occasionally, or add some oil to the pasta water. I found that this method results in less pasta sticking to each other, but it doesn’t hurt to stir every once in a while.
4. This cooking method is perfect for whole wheat pasta. Have you guys found that whole wheat pasta is really hard to cook properly? Mine used to always turn out soft on the outside and almost raw on the inside. Bringing whole wheat pasta to a boil with the water ensures that the inside is cooked through and takes away from the frustration that can be whole wheat pasta.
5. If you want to cook angel hair or spaghetti or any other long pasta like this, make sure you have enough water to cover, or just break the noodles in half so that they can fit in the pot. I used to never believe in breaking pasta in half, but it’s really not that different!
If you’ve never used this method before, give it a try and let me know your thoughts! Comment below or Tweet me, I appreciate all of your feedback!