How To Buy & Cook Pasta The Right Way
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When Shopping For Pasta, Look For:

Appearance
Amber color—a sign of good-quality wheat—versus whitish, reddish or grayish hues. Pasta that adheres to high-quality standards should also have fewer specks (blackish marks) or impurities.

Bite
Good pasta should be cooked al dente every time for the best meal experience.

Clarity
Pasta made with the highest-quality durum wheat should not release a lot of starch in the cooking water. Look to make sure the cooking water is clear versus cloudy—an indicator that excess starch is being released, which usually results in sticky, clumpy pasta.

Doesn’t Break
Pasta made with the highest-quality durum wheat should not break, clump or stick when cooking. Serve immediately to ensure the best meal experience.

Why do Italians like their pasta al dente? In Italy, food is an emotional experience that engages all the senses. Every meal is a celebration, and pasta is an important part of the meal. Cooking pasta al dente, which means “to the tooth” in Italian, means the pasta will still be firm when you bite into it. This is preferred because the firm bite of the pasta allows you to taste the pasta better.

How to Cook Pasta


Tip: Chef Lorenzo adds salt to the water until “it tastes like the sea.”

 
 

Step 1
Place 4–6 quarts of cold water in a large pot, and bring to a boil.

Step 2
Add salt, and bring back to a boil. Oil is not recommended, because it can prevent sauce from sticking to the pasta.

Step 3
Add pasta, and cook according to package instructions.

Step 4
For al dente pasta, do a bite test
for slight resistance.

Step 5
Drain, but reserve some of the pasta water! It’s a great addition to the sauce. Add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup or a ladle full of water to your sauce before adding the pasta. The salty, starchy water not only adds flavor but also helps glue the pasta and sauce together; it will also thicken the sauce.

Step 6
Add your favorite ingredients and sauce, toss, serve and enjoy!

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Note: Traditional pasta cooked al dente has a low to medium glycemic index (gi) value, which means the body digests it more slowly than many other carbohydrate-rich foods and keeps you fuller longer.

 
 
LONG SHAPES

Spaghetti, angel hair, fettucine and linguine

A bunch of noodles in your hand the size of a quarter

SHORT SHAPES

Elbows, penne and rotini

Penne and ziti

Campanelle, farfalle, rigatoni, shells and mini-wheels

Elbows, penne and rotini

Penne and ziti

Campanelle, farfalle, rigatoni, shells and mini-wheels

TIP
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