cooked spaghetti is so versitile and delicious!
I used to have a hard time getting spaghetti cooked to the
proper doneness. I mean, it’s better to overcook it than to have it be tough and undercooked, right? Wrong,
they are both bad. Overcooked spaghetti is too soft, has a gooey texture, and falls apart. I don’t think
anyone wants a bowl of mush and meatballs! Cooking it “al dente”, meaning that it is cooked, but still has
some firmness (not raw-ness) to it, is easy once you know how to do it.
I’m lucky to be married to a man who grew up close to his
fresh-from-the-old-country Italian grandparents. His Grandma taught him how to cook many of their authentic
meals. Cooking spaghetti was a given for him. Although he is normally the person in charge of cooking the
pasta at our house, he taught me how so I no longer end up with partially raw spaghetti or limp noodles. And
now I’m going to show you how!
Methods for measuring how much spaghetti to cook is as
varied as people are. We make a circle with our thumb and forefinger and fill it full to prepare enough for
four, like the photo below. A smaller “pinch” of spaghetti is enough for a single person. Believe it or not,
I counted the strands to see how much a pinch is and it is between 40 and 50 strands. Remember, spaghetti
expands when it cooks, so it goes further than you would think. If you think you may need more, leave the
water in the pan after you cook the first batch so it is still hot and you can cook more, if needed. Just add
a little more oil to keep the spaghetti strands from clumping together. The salt gently flavors the spaghetti
and brings the water to a boil more quickly.
I prefer to have a sauce on my spaghetti, but Glenn and
Andy like to melt a little butter over it and eat it plain. They especially like to do this on nights I have
obligations and they are on their own for dinner. Around our home, it's a guy thing!
1 pinch raw spaghetti (40-50
strands) per person for average appetites, more if preferred
4-6 Quarts of water in pot large enough to handle a rolling
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste,
1.Add water to a large pot, leaving enough head room to be
able to handle a rolling boil and the spaghetti.
We use a large pot to get enough water and allow a full boil.
2.Add salt to water. Heat on medium high to get to a hard
boil. While water is heating, add olive oil to pot. This will help prevent spaghetti strands
from sticking together.
Amount of salt we use in the
Adding olive oil to the spaghetti
pot before boiling the water
3.Add the spaghetti to the pot when it comes to a hard
rolling boil. Add the spaghetti by placing it into the pot and leaning it up against the
sides of the pot. Spread it around the sides of the pot so it won’t all clump together. As it
starts to cook, you will be able to push the strands into the pot.
Measuring out the correct amount of spaghetti. This amount will make four hearty servings
(about 1/2 pound of spaghetti).
Spread the raw spaghetti out along the rim of the pot to keep it from
4.Cook for about 6 minutes and check for
doneness. If not done, check each additional minute until it is done to your liking. We have
found that it needs between 8 and 9 minutes for our tastes.
This spaghetti is almost done.
See how it is still a little stiff?
The spaghetti is done perfectly. It drapes nicely without being limp.