Spaghetti noodles qualify to be called an affordable meal, as it is favored not only by the cash-starved college students, but also by several food connoisseurs. Along with being affordable, it is also an easy meal to prepare and tastes wonderful in all its forms. With spaghetti noodles, you can whip up a meal when you are starving or host an Italian pasta dinner for your loved ones. These simple steps to make noodles, will help you to cook it to perfection and you will realize that making a great Italian meal is indeed not rocket science.
Making Spaghetti Noodles from Scratch
The primary problem which people face while preparing this dish is that spaghetti noodles stick together and form lumps. The solution is to use a large pot to cook the strands well, so that there is a lot of room for them to move around. Using a lot of water is equally important as insufficient water will make the strands stick with one another, form lumps and get unevenly-cooked. It is normally seen that Americans do not add salt to the pasta when they are boiling it, but on the other hand Italians prefer adding a lot of salt.
According to a number of celebrated Italian chefs, usage of salt while preparing this dish, will infuse a lot of flavors and season it more effectively. If you're wondering whether the extra salt will make the dish salty, you need not worry, as most of it gets drained out with the extra water.
- Take a large pot, so that there is enough space to accommodate all the noodle strands. Pour 6 cups of water or more into the pot. Add 4 tbsp. of salt to the water.
- Bring the water to boil. When the water starts bubbling, add the spaghetti noodles to it. In case you do not have a sufficiently large pot to accommodate the full length of the strands, gently stir in a part of the noodles and once they are submerged, add the remaining part.
- Continue to stir the strands occasionally, so as to prevent it from sticking to each other, or to the pot.
- Let the water return to a boil. The boiling time will depend on the kind of spaghetti noodles you are using. The varieties include Spaghettini, Spaghetti Rigati, Spaghetti alla Chitarra, Capellini, Bucatini, etc. The cooking time will vary between 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the strands.
- After about 10 minutes, take out a single noodle strand and taste it. If it is too hard to bite or if you see white in the center, cook it for a little longer.
- However, if it is chewy but firm at the center, then the strands are ready to be cooked. Well-cooked noodles hold their shape well and are not too soft or squishy. This is known as al dente in Italian.
- Once the noodles are cooked, remove them from the pot and drain off the excess water with a sieve or by using a colander. Shake out the excess water from the strands and transfer it back into the pot. Let it remain there for 5 minutes, in order to dry it completely.
- Add a tbsp. of olive oil to the dish and toss.
- Now is the turn to add the favorite sauce and toss the noodles well. You can use tomato, puttanesca, or carbonara sauce. You may also choose to add the spices of your choice at this stage. Toss 2 - 3 times and let it cook for 5 - 10 minutes. Your dish is ready to be served.
In some of the instructions to make this dish, you will come across lines saying that olive oil is added with salt. This method is used to prevent the strands from sticking to one another. However, I like to add olive oil, only after the dish is cooked, so that the taste of the oil is retained, which does not happen if it is added in the initial stages.