LETTER: The proper way to cook pasta

I was shocked and appalled to see the Nelson Star spread misinformation on the possible method of preparing pasta.

Re: “Plan ahead for a great Christmas dinner,” Dec. 16

I was shocked and appalled to see the Nelson Star spread misinformation on the possible method of preparing pasta for any dinner, never mind Christmas dinner. To suggest that pasta can be cooked ahead and re-heated later in time for the main course is a sacrilegious suggestion.

Pasta should always be served immediately after it is cooked. In fact, it should always be cooked slightly less than the way you like it so that when added to the sauce and served, it will be perfectly done since it continues to cook while on the way from stove to table. The sauce can always wait; the pasta never waits.

To re-heat pasta, especially for a special dinner would be like serving wallpaper glue to your guests, which they may want to use to paper your kitchen walls with the Christmas cards you sent them. Once pasta is reheated it loses its texture, firmness, flavour, shape, visual appeal and the ultimate satisfaction it would otherwise deliver to the palate.

Pasta made of rice, corn and other non-wheat grains are especially susceptible to turning into a thick glue or slurry if cooked even half a minute over the limit, never mind if you reheat them, which if you did (as I have done with leftovers) are as satisfying as eating a soggy crusted apple pie in the Indian monsoon.

So remember, use lots of boiling water, salt, stir often and keep checking to see if it’s done by taking a bite of a pasta noodle now and again; the time on the packet means almost nothing.

Olindo Romeo Chiocca, Nelson