pasta_cPasta is the culinary jack-of-all-trades. With all the different varieties and the virtually infinite number of sauces that can be made, it's one of the most versatile foods on earth. You could literally make pasta every night of the week, and with the exception of the pasta itself, have a different meal each time.

Let's review some pasta cooking tips

1) Always use a large pot with a copious amount of water at a full boil.

2) Always season the water with salt.

3) Don't bother adding oil to the water; it will not prevent sticking.

4) Sticking is prevented by using an ample amount of water at a full boil, stirring the pasta, especially at the beginning, and not overcrowding the pot.

5) It is generally a good idea to cook the pasta until it is almost done and then finish it in your sauce. This allows for greater incorporation of the sauce with the pasta.

6) If your sauce is a little too thick or too dry, add some of the pasta water.

7) Match the pasta to the sauce based on the stoutness of the pasta and the heaviness of the sauce. Generally speaking, heartier sauces are paired with sturdier pastas and vice versa.

8) NEVER rinse your pasta unless you're making a cold pasta preparation like pasta salad and you need to stop the carry over cooking immediately. Rinsing the pasta reduces the surface starch and thus inhibits the sauce from clinging to it. Rinsing pasta is for food neurotics with irrational ideas about carbohydrates, not real cooks.

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