Testing Doneness and Serving

Many suggestions have been made for testing doneness, but none is more reliable than breaking off a very small piece and tasting it. As soon as the pasta is al dente, the cooking must be stopped at once. Half a minute extra is enough to overcook it.

Cooking times differ for every shape and size of pasta.Timing also depends on the kind of flour used and the moisture content.Times indicated on the package are often too long.

Fresh egg pasta,if it has not been allowed to dry,takes only 1 to 112 minutes to cook after the water has returned to a boil.

Italian practice is to toss the pasta with the sauce the minute it is drained.The sauce immediately coats all surfaces of the pasta, and cheese, if there is any, melts in the heat of the boiling hot noodles. If you are attempting to serve an authentic Italian pasta dish, follow this practice rather than simply topping the pasta with the sauce.

Pasta is best if cooked and served immediately.Whenever possible, you should try to cook pasta to order. Fresh pasta, in particular, cooks so quickly that there is little reason to cook it in advance. In volume operations, however, commercial pasta may have to be cooked ahead of time.The following procedures can be used for quantity cookery.

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