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The question that has plagued me forever: Do you time pasta as soon as you add it to the pot or once the water begins to boil?

asked by Lori Lyn Narlock almost 7 years ago

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9 answers 772 views
22b9ddc9 fc61 48a3 949e dee341974288  liz and dad
added almost 7 years ago

Water should be vigorously boiling before you add the pasta. For a whole pound of pasta, add a handful of salt, then add the pasta, and then start counting. I always need to turn down my heat after adding the pasta, as my stove gets crazy.

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3639eee1 5e0d 4861 b1ed 149bd0559f64  gator cake
hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added almost 7 years ago

I time as soon as I add it. I start checking for doneness about 2 minutes before the recommended cook time (assuming dried pasta), then every 30 seconds or so until its ready. I hate, hate, hate overcooked pasta.

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E7b6597b db6e 4cae b9f3 699b508f4ed3  036
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 7 years ago

I use a method that makes sense only to me - put it in the water, set the time with an additional minute added, start tasting 2 minutes before the timer is done and invariably drain it before the timer is up. I know, kinda dopey.

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72b8c92f c97c 49cf 8fc2 4b08462521f6  me
added almost 7 years ago

Start timing as soon as the dried pasta hits the salted water, if it is fresh pasta as soon as one or two noodles start to float start the timer for two or three minutes. With fresh made pasta I always taste for doneness after about a minute. For dried pasta I always end up turning down the heat after it begins to boil because I don't want starch water boiling over.

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 7 years ago

Salted water (salty like sea water, so LOTS of salt) should be at a furious, rolling boil before the pasta hits it, regardless of whether you're using fresh or dried pasta. You must use copious amounts of water, too, or the pasta will stick to itself. In some cases, the water will go off boil when you dump in the pasta. In that case, start timing from where it returns to the boil. Use a large enough pot (a stock pot or canning kettle is ideal) and you won't have a problem with boil-over. Start tasting at least a minute before the recommended time. When it's done to your taste, turn off the heat, and dump in a cup (8 ounces) of cold tap water to stop the cooking. Drain, do not rinse. Save some of the pasta water if you're making a sauce like a pesto, or other "dry" sauce (usually don't need it for tomato sauces, but it couldn't hurt to save some), about a cup, before draining. This will help loosen your sauce, and the starch will help thicken the final product.

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Eed1fa70 e05b 43bb b687 bb2e48114f09  giphy
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 7 years ago

I'd say you've already recieved good advice so far except that I don't "drain" the pasta. In Italy they use a very light touch with sauce. It's not smothered as in America al Buco di Beppe, so it get's scooped out al dente directly into the sauce to finish. The cooking times on the package are just a "suggestion". There are more than 2,000 recognized pasta shape in Italy and they all have a purpose.

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28ae82d8 db18 452b 8114 2299f2ff8b71  image mg 2807
added almost 7 years ago

I never time pasta when I cook it. I tend to just start checking for doneness when I feel like it's been boiling for a while...

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 7 years ago

You got great advice. There's not much to add. Just remember to start checking early, and check often. (Sounds like the advice for voting.) I take the pasta out before it's quite the al dente I am looking for, because it does continue to cook. I usualIy have a pot of whatever sauce I am making on the stove. I like to add the pasta to that to absorb the flavors. The pasta will also continue to cook in the sauce.

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 7 years ago

I believe mrslarkin gave you the answer you were looking for. I never add pasta to the salted water until it's at a rolling boil, then start timing it from there. As most of the others stated, start checking for doneness about 2 minutes before the package's recommended cook time. For fresh pasta, it's going to depend on the thickness of the dough, but still not added until the water is boiling hard.

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