Spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli – almost everyone is crazy about pasta. We may take for granted that preparing the noodles themselves is foolproof. Have you ever cooked pasta, all ready to plunge into that beautiful sauce that you so painstakingly prepared, only to find that it is mushy, flavorless and stuck together? Chris McKenna of Stella Modern Italian Cuisine in Oklahoma City, offers suggestions to ensure that pasta is perfect each and every time. While fresh pasta will not take as long to cook as dried, the process is the same.

To start, be sure to fill a large pot with enough water so that the pasta has room to move around. The ratio for water to pasta is proximately 3:1. In other words, if you’re using a pound of pasta, you’ll need at least a gallon of water.

Once the water comes to a boil, add a hefty pinch of salt, then the pasta.

“Stir to separate the noodles and return to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook to al dente, or until pasta has a toothsome bite. If it is to be added to a sauce or baked, undercook slightly,” McKenna suggests.

“Fresh pasta will only require about one-half or two-thirds the time of dried, depending on the type of pasta,” he adds. “If you want to cook fresh or dried pasta ahead of time, cool it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, then chill until ready to use.”
One last tip from McKenna is to add a little of the pasta water to the sauce to help thicken it and bring the dish together.

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