You often hear that there's nothing easier to make than pasta, but think again! It's actually very easy to mess up this classic dish. Indeed, it only takes one misstep to end up with overcooked pasta! Here's a list of mistakes to avoid to achieve a perfect pasta dish.
Using a saucepan that is too small
Forgot to do the dishes and your large pots are no longer available to cook pasta? If you were thinking of jamming everything into a saucepan that's too small, we don't recommend that. If you cook the pasta in a pan that's too small for the amount you're cooking, your pasta may form a sticky, jelly mass. Indeed, the secret to your pasta not sticking and being cooked evenly is to have a large pan that can hold at least 1L of water per 100 g of pasta.
Putting olive oil in the water
Some people systematically put oil in pasta to prevent it from sticking. Bad idea! Remember your middle school chemistry classes: water and oil don't mix. When you add a drizzle of olive oil to the pasta water, the oil will stay on the surface of the water and have absolutely no impact on the pasta.
Not stirring the pasta
If you plan to leave your pasta in the water, start your timer and come back in 10 minutes, you might want to rethink your plans. Even though cooking pasta doesn't require a great deal of technique, you have to stir it regularly. If you don't stir it, it'll stick to the bottom of the pan and your pasta won't be evenly cooked. So remember to pull out your wooden spoon regularly!
Skipping the salt
We mistakenly believe that adding salt to pasta is not compulsory. However, it plays a big part in the cooking process. Not only does it improve the taste of the pasta, but it also prevents it from sticking together. Adding salt will prevent the starch from sticking the pasta together. Finally, adding salt to the water allows you to salt the pasta in advance.
Increasing cooking time
Increased cooking time means increased blood sugar. Indeed, when cooked al dente, pasta isn't a calorie bomb. Sure, sauces can make it greasy. However, when you extend the cooking time to have "soft" pasta, the pasta's glycemic index increases considerably. In fact, the starch in the pasta will expand and release glucose -- in other words, sugar. Overcooking pasta will also make it more difficult to digest. So cook just long enough for it to be al dente.