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Cooking Pasta to Perfection

Cooking al dente pasta means it is cooked to the firm stage. Here's how you can prepare perfect pasta.

For each pound { 16 ounce } of pasta:

Heat 5 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil.
Gradually stir in pasta; return to boiling.
Boil, uncovered according to recommended time on package*, stirring occasionally. For best results, DO NOT OVERCOOK.
Drain well. Toss immediately with sauce or coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil, butter or margarine, if desired.

* A range of cooking times is usually provided on each package to accommodate personal preference; the first cooking time provided in the cooking range is al dente, the second cooking time is for softer pasta.
Cook It Right Tips:

Cooking pasta in plenty of water helps ensure perfect pasta every time. Use an 8 ~ quart pot to heat 4 to 6 quarts of water. There's no need to add oil; if plenty of water is used, pasta won't stick together.
Heat water to a rolling boil before adding pasta. Add pasta gradually so that water maintains a boil. Begin timing pasta { according to package directions } as soon as water returns to boiling. Cook on high heat at a rolling boil throughout the entire cooking time.
It's best to add salt to pasta cooking water shortly before it comes to a boil. Salt adds flavor and ensures firm { not sticky } pasta.
There's no need to rinse pasta after cooking unless it will be used in cold salads or if you plan to store it in the refrigerator.
Whether you use homemade or prepared sauces, plan on 1/2 cup of red sauce or 1/4 cup white sauce per two ~ ounce serving of pasta.
To re ~ heat cooked pasta, place several portions in a metal colander and immerse in pot of boiling water for on { 1 } minute. Drain and serve as desired. Or, microwave single servings of cooked pasta. Place on microwave-safe plate, cover with sauce, then plastic wrap. Microwave 30 to 60 seconds.
For baked dishes like macaroni and cheese or tuna noodle casserole, reduce pasta cooking time by one ~ third.
How To Store Pasta:

Store uncooked pasta in a tightly sealed package or container in a cool, dry place. Store and use non ~ egg pasta for up to three years and egg pasta up to two years.

The age of the pasta can be determined by reading the date coding information on our packages.

Cooked pasta can be refrigerated. Toss each pound of cooked pasta with one tablespoon of vegetable oil ~ refrigerate covered for three to four days. For best quality, refrigerate pasta and sauce in separate containers.
Can You Freeze Pasta?

Yes you can! Time ~ starved cooks benefit by preparing pasta dishes ahead of time and freezing. Combination dishes with red sauce { like lasagna }freeze best. Prepare recipe as directed, but DO NOT BAKE. Cover with plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze up to two months. To bake, remove plastic wrap and replace foil.
Baking a Frozen Dish:

Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 30 minutes

For simple dishes with a sauce, like spaghetti and meatballs, prepare the sauce ahead of time and freeze. Do not freeze the pasta; most shapes take less than 20 minutes to cook and they taste better freshly prepared.

Baking a Refrigerated Dish:
{ thaw in refrigerator after freezing }

Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes {Lasagna or Jumbo Shells}
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes {Manicotti}
Frequently Asked Questions

Should I rinse pasta after cooking?

We recommend rinsing pasta only if you're preparing it for a cold salad; rinsing in cold water will help to cool it quickly. For all other uses,we do not recommend rinsing since it reduces the serving temperature of the pasta and sauce may not cling as well because residual starch is rinsed away. However, if you are accustomed to rinsing pasta, please do whatever you prefer or feel comfortable with.

How much pasta should I cook?

A 1 ~ pound { 16 ounce } box of pasta serves 8 people, on average. This can vary depending on whether you are cooking for hearty or "light" eaters. Look on the package cooking directions; the first line in the directions tells you how many cups of cooked product will be made from cooking the whole package. A 1 pound box of spaghetti, for example, cooks to 10 cups. On average, pasta doubles in size when cooked but this varies by shape.
Can I cook pasta ahead of time or reheat leftover pasta?

You can, however best quality comes from cooking pasta right before it's served. To cook ahead, prepare as directed on package, tossing with vegetable oil. Store, tightly sealed in plastic bags 3 to 4 days. When ready to serve, boil water; remove pasta from plastic bag. Immerse pasta in boiling water 1 minute or until heated through. Drain in colander and serve.
Can I freeze pasta?

Combination dishes with red sauce { like lasagna } freeze best. Cooked pasta without sauce does not freeze particularly well.
Should I add uncooked pasta or noodles to soup and cook it with the broth, or should I cook pasta separately, then add to broth?

Either way is fine. But keep in mind that if pasta is cooked with broth, a cloudier {not clear} broth will result. For hearty soups, this is usually not important. If cooking pasta in broth, be sure to start with an extra amount of broth since pasta will absorb roughly 25% of the liquid.

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