The Padilla Group Blog

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10 Ways to Perfect Pasta, Rice and Potatoes

Category: Cooking

1. Cooking fresh pasta.

Fresh pasta needs less water than dried pasta. To cook fresh pasta, have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready. Make sure you have enough boiling water for the pasta to cook in. Add a little oil to the water, so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Add pasta to the pan, ensure the water stays boiling and stir slowly for 10 seconds to separate the pasta. Boil pasta for 2-4 minutes depending on the type you’re using.

2. Untangle spaghetti before serving.

If you have allowed your spaghetti to cool for too long and it becomes tangled, toss it back into the hot water and stir with a large spoon. Then, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water immediately. You can add some olive oil if you’d like, but it’s not a necessity.

3. Al dente pasta.

Al dente means “to the tooth.” When it’s cooked, pasta should be soft but still firm when you bite it. The easiest way to tell whether pasta is al dente is to remove a piece from the saucepan and test it between your teeth. The pasta should have some texture when you bite into it, but it should not be dry and hard in the middle.

4. Cooking dried pasta.

The most common mistake when cooking dried pasta is not having enough boiling water. Have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready. Add a little oil and pasta to the pan, and stir for 20 seconds to separate the pasta. Boil for 10-14 minutes depending on the shape of the pasta and the flour used. Drain it and eat immediately without any extra oil or butter if you’ll be having it hot. For cold pasta rinse it under warm water and then cold water.

5. Perfectly cooked pasta every time.

For perfect pasta, do not boil the noodles! Instead, boil the water and then turn off the fire and add the pasta. Cover, and stir the pasta every five minutes for twenty minutes. Your pasta will never overcook, and it will be perfect every time.

6. Make fluffier rice.

For fluffier rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the water before adding rice. It won’t change the flavor but it will plump up the grains to give you perfect rice.

7. Add flavor to rice.

Instead of using plain water when boiling rice, try chicken stock, beef stock or even tomato juice. Serve it as is or add even more flavor by sautéing some vegetables in olive oil and garlic and adding them for a delicious and healthy side dish.

8. Reduce the stickiness of pasta and rice.

The starch in pastas and rice often cause them to stick together. Avoid this by adding a splash of vinegar when boiling them. The result will be perfect, stick-free pasta and rice every time.

9. Make the fluffiest baked potatoes.

Start by choosing a potato with a high starch content. Russets and Idaho potatoes are both good choices. Before placing your potatoes in the oven, pierce them several times with a knife in order to let the steam escape during baking. Never wrap your potatoes, as it will cause them to steam rather than to bake. When serving your baked potatoes, cut a slit in the top and squeeze the sides of the potato before adding toppings.

10. Make perfect mashed potatoes.

Whether you like them on their own, smothered in butter or drowned in gravy, mashed potatoes are an excellent accompaniment to many different meals. To make them like the pros do start by putting several whole garlic cloves in the water with the boiling potatoes. The garlic will cook and once the potatoes are mashed it will give them a wonderful flavor. While mashing, add buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, or a combination of these. Experiment to find the taste that you like best!