Perfect Preparation


Cooking Perfect Pasta

What's the best way to prepare pasta?

In a large pot, boil 4 to 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta. (Adding salt is optional.) Gradually add pasta, stirring to separate it and return to a boil. Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally until desired tenderness. Drain. Serve immediately.

When using cooked pasta in a recipe that requires additional cooking time, like baked tuna noodle casserole or macaroni and cheese, reduce the boiling time by 1 to 2 minutes.

When can I tell my pasta is done?

"Doneness" really depends on your personal preference. Start by checking for doneness at the minimum recommended cooking time on the package. Test by tasting a single piece. Pasta should be "al dente," or tender with a slight bite or firmness.

Are there fool-proof tips for serving perfectly cooked pasta?

For perfectly cooked pasta, follow the tips below.

  • Cook the pasta just before serving. Cook just until "al dente," or firm to the tooth.
  • Drain immediately. Pasta will continue to cook if left in hot water.
  • If pasta must be held before serving, cool it quickly by rinsing with cold water, drain and then toss the pasta with a little oil or butter to keep it from sticking. Reheat in the microwave or by pouring boiling water over the pasta.
  • Pasta will absorb the sauce if left standing for even a short period of time. We recommend adding or tossing with the sauce just before serving.
  • When cooking pasta for a casserole or other baked dishes, cook it about two minutes less than the minimum cook-time recommended on the package.
  • When adding pasta to soup, we recommend cooking it separately, stirring it in just before serving. (Note: pasta will continue to cook if left standing in hot soup.)

Can pasta be cooked in the microwave?

Unless it's a pasta product specifically developed for the microwave, cooking pasta in a microwave is not recommended. Traditional pasta must be cooked in boiling water. The microwave isn't suitable for boiling large quantities of water.

What's the best way to reheat pasta?

Cooked pasta can be reheated in the microwave or in boiling water.

Microwave:

Toss cooked pasta with sauce in a microwave safe bowl, then cover and microwave on high power for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through. Stir once or twice while heating.

Hot water:

Place cooked pasta in a colander and pour hot or boiling water over it. Or place the pasta in a colander and immerse it in a pot of boiling water for a few moments.

Do lasagna noodles need to be cooked before using?

Yes, lasagna noodles normally must be cooked before layering the lasagna, unless it is a specially developed recipe for uncooked noodles. These recipes typically contain extra liquid to rehydrate the noodles during baking.

Are all the Mueller's Pasta shapes interchangeable in recipes?

Pasta shapes can certainly be interchanged. However, the "right" pasta shape can complement a particular sauce and enhances the taste and appearance of the finished dish.