Pasta cooking mistake we all make and what to do instead – according to top chef

Pasta cooking mistake we all make and what to do instead – according to top chef


When it comes to cooking, there are plenty of mistakes you can make.

From burning your dinner to not adding enough flavouring and undercooking, the list goes on and on.

One food you might think would be pretty difficult to mess up is pasta – after all, there aren't too many steps involved, you boil and salt the water, add the pasta and let it cook for around 10 minutes.

But according to Andrew Macleod, Founder of Emilia's Crafted Pasta, there's a very common error that we are pretty much all making when we cook the Italian dish and it's one of the final things we do before serving the pasta.

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Andrew who first opened Emilia's at St. Katharine Docks in November 2016, has stressed the importance of never rinsing pasta after cooking and he adds that you also shouldn't drain pasta over the sink.

This is because you'll wash away the starch and lose it from the water you've drained.

Instead, he recommends that you always add the pasta water (not normal water) to the sauce you cook for your dish as the "starch enriched water helps thicken the sauce".

As well as this great piece of advice, Andrew also shared a few other top tips for cooking pasta.

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He said: "Make sure to salt your pasta cooking water extremely generously (35-50g per liter of water) as this adds a lot of flavour to the pasta – don't add oil in the boiling water as that will make it harder for the sauce to stick to the pasta afterwards."

And if you're a more adventurous cook, when it comes to making your own pasta, you've got to pick the right flour.

He explained: "When choosing what flour to make your fresh pasta with, remember that if you want a rougher textured pasta that clings to the sauce it's best to choose semolina, otherwise use flour 00 if you want a silkier, smoother texture of pasta.

"Also it is important people realise how messy making pasta is, the flour will go everywhere!"

Finally he discussed the importance of choosing the right pasta shape for your meal.

"The weight texture and size of the pasta shape should compliment the sauce," he said. "Short, curved, ridged pasta shapes like fusilli and casarecce allow delicate sauces like homemade pesto to nestle in their twists, while long, wide silky-smooth egg pasta such as pappardelle captures hearty sauces like a bolognese on every centimetre of the golden ribbons."

He added: "If you have any leftover fresh pasta and want to keep it, make nest-like bundles and dust them off with a little bit of flour/semolina which keeps them from sticking together.

"Note: fresh pasta only keeps well in the fridge for 24-48 hours max."

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