Pasta – a weeknight dinner in most homes!

by Kyla Van Heerden
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One of the many reasons pasta is so popular is because of its delicious taste and how quick and easy it is to prepare. While cooking pasta is simple, it is important to know the cooking times for pasta. You want your pasta al dente, in other words, with a slight bite but not hard and with a tiny amount of resistance when you bite into it.

Steps to cook al dente pasta

1. Add plenty of water to a deep pot (ideally add 1 litre of water per 100g of dried pasta).

2. Boil the water before adding salt.

3. Add the pasta once the water has come to a complete boil.

4. Stir the pasta within two minutes to stop it from sticking.

5. Once your past is al dente, remove from the stove and strain the pasta in a colander. Do not rinse the pasta because the starch helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. Only rinse pasta if you are using the pasta in cold recipes like salads.

Different pasta and their cooking times

Pasta is traditionally made from wheat, but these days, pastas are also made from different ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, and beans, which also determines the cooking time.

Angel hair pasta5 minutes
Farfalle (bowties)10-12 minutes
Penne12-14 minutes
Rotini8-10 minutes
Spaghetti8-10 minutes
Macaroni8-10 minutes
Shells9-15 minutes – depending on the size
Fettucine8-13 Minutes
Ravioli3-5 minutes
Gluten-free pasta6-8 minutes

It’s also a good idea to check cooking times on the packaging of the pasta. Parboil pasta for baking, which means cook it for less time than the estimated cooking time. If you cook pasta for salads, cook them a little longer than al dente so that the pasta soaks up more of the salad dressing.

Pasta like cannelloni and lasagna sheets are baked in their sauce and not pre-cooked.

How to cook pasta in a microwave

1. Place the pasta in a microwave-safe bowl and add water. Pasta expands, so you can always drain the excess water.

2. Place the bowl in the microwave and add 3-4 minutes to the suggested cooking time on the package and start the microwave.

3. Monitor the pasta and stop the microwave halfway to stir the pasta.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and use 

Now that you know the drill, it’s time to whip up a delectable pasta dish for the entire family.

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