Jamie Oliver’s tips for cooking great pasta

For pasta that is cooked perfectly all the way through, do not place it the in water until the water is boiling. Pasta cooks from the outside in, so to keep your pasta all one texture you need to cook it at the same consistent temperature from the beginning to the end.

Cook pasta for one minute less than instructed on the box and then place the pasta in a sauce pan. By making pasta this way, the sauce will absorb into the pasta and the overall quality of your meal will be better. You can even add some spices into the saucepan.

When cooking a meal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, make separate sauces can be the best way to make sure everyone has enough to eat and knows what they can eat. Make rice or pasta, then let guests choose from a meatless sauce and one with meat. A dish with multiple components saves you from having to make two separate meals, and it makes both meat-eaters and vegetarians happy.

You can make a quick and inexpensive meal out of some leftovers by adding pasta and rice to vegetables, meat or salad fixings. They cook quickly and are cheap, so use them to stretch the contents of your refrigerator. Toss in a few sauteed peppers or onions to make an even, fuller meal.

When you are boiling rice, pasta, or vegetables it is very important that you salt the boiling water before placing the food in the pot. This helps the salt absorb, and it will taste better than if you add salt to the food after it has already been cooked.

Watch the time when you are making pasta for a dish. If you are cooking pasta that will be mixed with sauce, you should shave a full minute off of the initial boil time. Doing this will keep your noodles from becoming overcooked in the sauce as you mix them.

Rice is a great carbohydrate and very inexpensive. Pasta and bread are three times as much per pound than rice. Investing in a rice cooker is well worth it. Use rice as you would orzo or other short pastas.

Although it is tempting, do not add oil to boiling pasta if you will be using the pasta with a sauce. The oil prevents the sauce from adhering to the pasta, and may leave you with a slick, unappealing mess. Give your pasta a stir every couple of minutes as it cooks and use plenty of water, and there should not be any sticking issues.

 Photo by GrrLash

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