Are you sure you're cooking pasta correctly?

Last updated 15:18 31/07/2014
Pasta

COOKING TIPS: Overcooking pasta breaks the carbohydrate chains so the stomach absorbs more that it would otherwise.

Pasta
THE EXPERT: Chef Stefano De Pieri, of Stefano's restaurant in Victoria, Australia.

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The phrase 'al dente' means a little hard on the tooth. This is important not only because it keeps the pasta at an appropriate texture, but also because it affects the way it is digested. 

Interestingly, timing isn't the only important factor to getting pasta right. Using a good quality durum wheat pasta also helps -- as there is a greater chance that the pasta will retain its shape and firmness while cooking.

When cooked 'al dente', the pasta is actually digested more slowly, resulting in a lower spike in blood sugars. Overcooking pasta breaks the carbohydrate chains so the stomach absorbs more that it would otherwise.

Here are some tips from Italian celebrity chef and Garofalo pasta ambassador Stefano De Pieri to help you cook your pasta 'al dente':

- The most important step when trying to achieve pasta al dente is to always follow the timing instructions on the packet

- Ensure you use an appropriately large pot so that there is plenty of water in which the pasta boils. The pasta should be swimming in the water.

- The water must be appropriately salted. To give you a rough idea, imagine your water to taste half as salty as seawater. Use a large salt pig from which abundant handfuls of rock salt can be thrown into the pot. You can always add salt (before adding the pasta), but you can't subtract it!

- A common misconception surrounding pasta is adding oil to the water. No oil is required in the water. It serves no purpose. Oil and water do not mix anyway.

- Traditionally, 100 grams of pasta per person is a significant amount. Eat less pasta, but more often. You can eat pasta every day, just stick to 80-90 grams and keep sauces to a minimum.

- The pleasure of eating pasta is, eating pasta. The sauce should be kept to a minimum and should never drown the pasta. This is much healthier as you avoid excessive use of condiments. The worst thing you can do is to prepare 150 grams of pasta, overcook it, then add 100mls of cream and other fats.

- Most kinds of pasta can be eaten with a little olive oil, garlic, and a tiny amount of cheese, or just cheese and butter is a quick and tasty winter dish.

- And finally, add a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over the pasta, as this is rich in antioxidants

- Daily Life

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