Tips and Tricks to Achieve Pasta Mastery, Part 1

Two women reading the back of a box of ZENB Spaghetti

Whether you’re a die-hard home cook with shelves of worn-in cookbooks and cabinets full of culinary tools or a bit of a kitchen n00b, there are some back-to-basics that you should learn your way around. These include frying an egg, emulsifying a vinaigrette, roasting vegetables and — most important, as far as we’re concerned — cooking pasta.

On the face of it, cooking pasta seems easy enough. Boil, cook, drain, right? But like so many simple things, there is more complexity than meets the eye. Don’t get it twisted: pasta is quick, and convenient, especially ZENB’s 100% yellow pea pasta, which helps you prepare plant-fueled, elevated meals without spending hours at the stove. But there are some tips and techniques that can help you achieve pasta mastery and earn your rightful place in the secret league of Passionate Pasta Patrons (how we wish this was a real thing).

In part 1 of this two-part blog, we’ll share some of our tried-and-true advice for making incredible pasta, every👏single👏time👏.

Adding Water 

One of the most common mistakes home cooks make is trying to cook pasta in an insufficient amount of water. Our instructions say to bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil, and you really shouldn’t skimp on that!

Pull out a roomy stock pot or Dutch oven and fill it with plenty of water. This gives the pasta ample room to be immersed in the boiling water and helps to prevent sticking.

Always start with cold water and put a lid on the pot to speed up the boiling process (just remove the lid once the pasta hits the water). And — this is important — no matter how much of a rush you’re in, wait to add the pasta until the water is at a full, rolling boil!

Salting Water 

Pasta, be it legume-based or wheat-based, is a porous ingredient. When you boil it in water, it’s literally absorbing the water, which is what transforms its texture from dry and crunchy to pliable and edible.

Salting the water is a simple and crucial way to build flavor in the very foundation of your meal. If you don’t salt the water, your food will taste under-seasoned, even if you add a perfectly seasoned sauce to it later!

The rule of thumb is to add 1.5 tablespoons of salt per package of ZENB pasta. Don’t add the salt until the water is boiling! What kind of salt you add is up to you; sea salt, kosher salt, and table salt all work fine.

Stirring it Up

Once you add your ZENB Pasta to the pot, give it a gentle stir with a wooden or silicone spoon. Do this once, right when the noodles go into the water, and one or two other times during the cooking process. This is the best way to make sure the pasta doesn’t clump or stick together!

You may have seen recipes or tips saying to add oil to the pasta water to prevent sticking, but guess what? Doing this doesn’t actually help at all — so save your precious olive oil, and use the stirring technique instead.

Hungry for more? Head to Part 2 of our pasta mastery blog to continue your journey to pasta perfection! And, to go deeper into the world of ZENB, including tons more cooking advice and recipes, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! 

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