In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to know when pasta is done?”, discuss answers to other related questions like can you eat undercooked pasta, and how much water should you add to make pasta.
How to know when pasta is done?
It is very easy but a bit tricky to know when pasta is done. As a general rule of thumb, you can consider that pasta is done when it starts floating on the surface of the water.
To be more precise, you can determine the doneness of pasta by following ways:
- Visually check the pasta to see if it has started to swell slightly and watch for it to begin rising to the surface of the boiling water. Lift a pasta shape from the boiling water using a slotted spoon. Cut the pasta in half and check the center, which if the pasta is done, it should not have a white ring or spot in it, or be opaque in appearance. The pasta should be uniform in color.
- When cooking strands of pasta, if the strands do not drape easily over the spoon, they need additional cooking time. But if the strands of pasta drape easily over the spoon when lifted from the water, they are cooked to the proper doneness.
How long do you need to cook pasta?
To have the best result, it is better to cook the pasta according to the instructions written on the packaging. However, if the package does not have the instructions, you can cook pasta for 7 to 12 minutes until it is about to be done. It is always better to take off the pasta from the stove 2 to 3 minutes earlier than the actual time as it continues to cook by the residual heat of the water which is being drained or when you add sauce to it.
Can you eat undercooked pasta?
Eating undercooked pasta can impose serious health issues on your health due to its components. For example, if you have cooked pasta with eggs and meat being the basic components, but you have not properly cooked it, you can become the victim of serious foodborne illnesses due to bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella.
E.coli can cause serious disease due to its toxin, known as Shiga toxin. The symptoms of an infection resulting from this toxin vary from person to person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and fever. If the toxin gets into the bloodstream, it can cause septic shock which can lead you to death.
Salmonella causes food poisoning with symptoms that may range from mild to severe and include a high fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and muscle pain. These symptoms appear within 1 to 3 days after consuming contaminated food and can last for 4 to 7 days. If the symptoms get severe, seek medical assistance. Also, if the frequency of diarrhea and vomiting is high, try to increase your uptake of fluids to compensate for the loss of water and minerals from the body.
How much water should you add to make pasta?
The addition of enough water to the pasta is always helpful in keeping it from sticking. This is because when pasta is being cooked, it leaches starches into the water. So if there is less water in the pot, the leached starch will cause the pasta to get sticky and gummy. But if there is enough water in the pot, the concentration of leached starches will become low enough that your pasta will be at lower risk of sticking.
The ratio of water to the pasta is generally 4 quarts of water to 1 pound of dried pasta.
Can you add oil to the pasta while cooking?
You can add olive oil to the pasta while cooking, it will help you keep the pasta from sticking and make you able to reheat it if there are leftovers of pasta. But, if you are to add some sauce to the cooked pasta, don’t add oil as it will coat a layer over the pasta, thereby, preventing the sauce from sticking to the pasta.
Can you add salt to the pasta while cooking?
The addition of salt to the pasta water is only meant to flavor the pasta. You can add salt to the boiling water so that when pasta is added to that boiling water, it will absorb the salty water and enhance the flavor of the overall meal. The addition of salt to the pasta water is not important to keep the pasta from sticking but it adds some unique flavor to the cooked pasta that suits everyone’s taste buds.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to know when pasta is done?”, discussed answers to other related questions like can you eat undercooked pasta, and how much water should you add to make pasta.