Tips and Techniques for Cooking Like a Chef Part 6-Pasta, Rice and Potatoes

73. Cooking fresh pasta. Fresh pasta needs less water than dried pasta. To
cook fresh pasta, have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready. Make
sure you have enough boiling water for the pasta to cook in. Add a little oil to
the water, so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Add pasta to the pan, ensure the
water stays boiling and stir slowly for 10 seconds to separate the pasta. Boil
pasta for 2-4 minutes depending on the type you’re using.

74. Untangle spaghetti before serving. If you have allowed your spaghetti to
cool for too long and it becomes tangled, toss it back into the hot water and
stir with a large spoon. Then, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water
immediately. You can add some olive oil if you’d like, but it’s not a necessity.

75. Al dente pasta. Al dente means “to the tooth”. When it’s cooked, pasta
should be soft but still firm when you bite it. The easiest way to tell whether
pasta is al dente is to remove a piece from the saucepan and test it between
your teeth. The pasta should have some texture when you bite into it, but it
should not be dry and hard in the middle.

76. Cooking dried pasta. The most common mistake when cooking dried pasta
is not having enough boiling water. Have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling
water ready. Add a little oil and pasta to the pan, and stir for 20 seconds to
separate the pasta. Boil for 10-14 minutes depending on the shape of the pasta
and the flour used. Drain it and eat immediately without any extra oil or
butter if you’ll be having it hot. For cold pasta rinse it under warm water and
then cold water.

77. Perfectly cooked pasta every time. For perfect pasta, do not boil the
noodles! Instead, boil the water and then turn off the fire and add the pasta.
Cover, and stir the pasta every five minutes for twenty minutes. Your pasta
will never overcook, and it will be perfect every time.

78.Make fluffier rice. For fluffier rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the
water before adding rice. It won’t change the flavor but it will plump up the
grains to give you perfect rice.

79. Add flavor to rice. Instead of using plain water when boiling rice, try
chicken stock, beef stock or even tomato juice. Serve it as is or add even more
flavor by sautéing some vegetables in olive oil and garlic and adding them for
a delicious and healthy side dish.

80.Reduce the stickiness of pasta and rice. The starch in pastas and rices
often cause them to stick together. Avoid this by adding a splash of vinegar
when boiling them. The result will be perfect, stick-free pasta and rice every
time.

81. Make the fluffiest baked potatoes. Start by choosing a potato with a high
starch content. Russets and Idahos are both good choices. Before placing your
potatoes in the oven, pierce them several times with a knife in order to let the
steam escape during baking. Never wrap your potatoes, as it will cause them
to steam rather than to bake. When serving your baked potatoes, cut a slit in
the top and squeeze the sides of the potato before adding toppings.

82.Soften up the skin on baked potatoes. Do you like to eat the skin along
with your baked potatoes? Make it soft and delicious by rubbing the outside of
your potatoes with some vegetable oil before placing them into a hot oven.
Add a little butter and sour cream – even some shredded cheese if you like –
and you have a perfect side dish!

83.Make perfect mashed potatoes. Whether you like them on their own,
smothered in butter or drowned in gravy, mashed potatoes are an excellent
accompaniment to many different meals. To make them like the pros do start
by putting several whole garlic cloves in the water with the boiling potatoes.
The garlic will cook and once the potatoes are mashed it will give them a
wonderful flavor. While mashing, add buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream,
butter, or a combination of these. Experiment to find the taste that you like
best!

84.Bake potatoes in a flash. Need them fast? You can microwave potatoes but
they’re always nicer in the oven. To bake them quickly, slice your potatoes in
half lengthwise and bake them with the flat part facing down. Be sure to
grease the baking sheet, and them simply place into a 375-degree oven for
about half an hour.

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