Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to cook, right? But it’s actually easy to get it totally wrong.
Here, we’ve uncovered the five simple tricks chefs use to cook the perfect bowl of pasta, so you can get it right every time.
1. Add salt to the pot of boiling water.
2. When you first add pasta to the water, don’t add any oil. Many people believe this helps separate the pasta, but all it does is make the noodles slippery, and prevents the sauce from mixing properly later on.
3. To keep the pasta from clumping together, stir the pasta with a pair of tongs (or a spoon) as soon as you add it to the water. Continue to stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
4. When you drain the pasta, don’t attempt to rid the pot of every last bit of water. Instead, save a cup of reserved liquid for mixing with the pasta sauce.
5. Finally, don’t rinse the pasta with water, as it will strip the noodles of their natural starches, resulting in a watery and less flavourful dish.
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This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.