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Storing and Cooking Pasta

You'd never know by looking at it, but the pasta you have in pretty glass jars on your counter is under attack. Once fortified pasta is exposed to light, its vitamins start to break down. Eventually you'll notice it becoming lighter in color. You'll have to use it within a month or two or buying it to get the benefit of the vitamins that you're paying for. For long-term storage, hide pasta in airtight containers in a dark place. You can keep it up to eighteen months when stored properly.

Once you open a pound box of spaghetti, you're probably left with dry pasta falling out in your pantry. You can buy a special container to store your noodles, but here's a free solution: just put the uncooked pasta pieces in one of those cartons that stacked chips (like Pringles) come in. Save the packaging the next time you finish a stack of chips, wipe it out with a dry paper towel, and you'll be all ready for spaghetti. (Just be sure to label it so you don't accidentally take dry spaghetti to a picnic!)

Cooking pasta to perfection is a delicate operation, so don't be heavy-handed. In fact, you should always use a lightweight pot when cooking pasta. The water will boil faster and return to a boil quickly after you add the pasta. Best of all, your spaghetti won't clump together or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Want less mess when you're cooking pasta? All you need to do is spray cooking oil around the inside edge of the pot before adding pasta to your pot. (Don't add much oil—too much will make your pasta sauce slide right off the pasta.) You can also add a dash of salt to the water and place a spoon in the pot before it's boiling so it won't boil over.

Does your pasta stick together? You can stop it from sticking by just adding a teaspoon of butter or oil to the water and waiting for the water to boil before you put your uncooked pasta in. If you add pasta before the water boils, you'll slow down the boiling process and make your pasta sticky.

To rinse or not rinse pasta? Experts say you shouldn't rinse pasta destined for sauce because the starch helps hold the sauce on your pasta. If you're making lasagna, though, go ahead and rinse the wide noodles for better handling. Also rinse any pasta you'll use in a cold salad.

If your family is getting fed up with pasta, add a bouillon cube to liven it up. Add bouillon to the boiling water then toss in the pasta. You'll get a new flavor and a new lease on your pasta's life.

 

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