Great entry - I think my usual lazy method of cooking would be the exact opposite of what was described - but maybe I'll try and change now.
Grab small pan of cold water. Add a few handfulls of pasta. Boil, cook for a while, hopefully not forgetting about it, forget the salt, bung it in a colander and then straight onto the plate....
One thing you didn't mention though was to always wash dried pasta. This is something a cook friend told me. Dried pasta in a packet usually gets very dusty - if you pour some into a bowl of cold water first, you'll see that the water is far from clear - you probably can't even see the bottom. To wash you just keep adding cold water, stirr around, pour off the water and repeat until the water becomes clear.
Pasta (especially spaghetti) is cooked "al dente" as soon as it sticks to the ceiling when you throw it up there.
Testing the "al dente"ness of spaghetti this way is considered forbidden in lots of university students' kitchens, but not everybody sticks to the rules.
Ooh, be a bit careful about washing the dust off of dried pasta. Some years ago some friends cooked a huge cauldron of spaghetti for a party and didn't get the washed pasta into the boiling water fast enough. The whole lot stuck together and as it was dished up the line was, "Spaghetti? One slice or two?"
And finally, you're welcome to throw bits of sticky pasta at your own ceiling, but not at mine!
You don't need to wash pasta before you cook it. At least not the pasta you can buy in Germany. How can it get dusty when it's in plastic?
And if the water gets nearly white - that is due to poor qualitiy of the pasta. It kinda desintengrates.
I don't think I've ever washed pasta.
One of the most delightful forms of pasta is couscous. Couscous is so tiny it cooks almost immediately with very little fuel and in very little water. It comes in white and whole wheat versions. For the white couscous, boil a small volume of water, then add the same small volume of couscous. Let it sit (without additional heat) for about a minute and it is done. For whole wheat, the proportions are slightly different.
As a child I knew about cooking the pasta al dente, but it was only while I was away at college that I learned about throwing a piece of pasta at the ceiling to test whether it is done. If it sticks it is done, if it falls to the floor it is not done yet. To my housemates credit, they never returned any of test pasta to the pot.
LOL... I have never seen anybody in Italy throwing pasta on the ceiling - and I have spent there 30 years...
It's just an urban legend
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