Cooking Tips From Cook's Country Magazine....Pasta.

Have you ever made a pasta dish only to have the pasta clump together?  I have.
Have you ever made pasta that was chewy or sticky?  I have. 
Or made a cold pasta dish that seemed too dry and no matter how much extra mayo you add to the dish it doesn't seem to make it any better, only worse?  I have.
Well lucky for me there is hope for those of us with pasta issues.  I found an article in the 2010 Aug/Sept Cook's Country Magazine (CCM) that gives helpful hints on how to avoid these pasta disasters.   So I gathered my ingredients and decided to follow their hints for a successful cold pasta dish....I will put their suggestions in quotes.

"Use plenty of water and thoroughly season it with salt once it comes to a boil.  For 1 pound of macaroni use 4 quarts of water and season with 1 tablespoon of salt"

I have always drained my pasta, rinsed with cold water, and let it almost completely dry.  Wrong!!  That may have been one of my biggest mistakes according to CCM.  Here is what they suggest. "After the pasta has boiled to al dente about 6-8 minutes....drain pasta in a colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and then drain again briefly.  And they mean briefly. If the pasta is left a bit wet it absorbs the drops of water instead of the mayo and thus you get a creamy result".They also suggest "that right after you rinse the pasta and drain briefly that you stir in the seasonings and let sit a few minutes before you add the mayo".   So I mixed my salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and stirred it into my pasta before I stirred in the mayo.

A few minutes later I added the mayo mixture. They said the perfect amount of mayo for 1 pound of macaroni is 1&1/2 cups.  I added some ham and veggies to my salad and also some sugar to the mayo mix for just a touch of sweetness.

You know how pasta salad can get a bit dry after a day or two?  In the past I have always added some mayo to re-moisten the salad.  I was WRONG again.  CCM says that you should add warm water, starting with about 1 tablespoon and add more if needed. 

Finished product.  It was actually very good.  Wasn't clumpy, wasn't sticky. Just right! Next time I will add more cherry tomatoes.  They add nice color and flavor.

I hope you can use these pasta cooking tips from CCM they have been really helpful to me.  I have made this twice since I bought the magazine.  The first time I drained the pasta too long.  The second time, I barely drained it, left it moist.....much better.  

So pull out your pasta salad recipes and try cooking your pasta with the helpful hints from Cooks Country Magazine and you can't go wrong.
Happy Cooking Everyone:-)
Oh, Brodie says Hi!
Enjoy Your World:-)


  1. Yum ... now you have me craving a pasta salad! Great tips. One that I like is adding the seasonings before the dressing. When I use to work at the restaurant we would add a little milk to a mayo based salad if it was a little dry ~ works just as well as the warm water. These same tips work great for potato salads too. Thanks for sharing!!


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