Pasta is a versatile and usually easy meal to prepare for quick lunches or hearty family gatherings. There are many kinds of pasta and different cooking methods that suit each type. After cooking your pasta, select vegetables, meat or sauces to stir in, based on the type of noodle and the cooking method.
Boil Your Pasta
Boiling pasta is the most common way to cook pasta. Bring 4 qt. of water to a boil, add about 1 tsp. of salt and stir in your pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the pasta packaging; usually you must boil the pasta for 10 to 15 minutes. This method works well for nearly any kind of pasta, especially spaghetti, elbow, bowtie or ravioli. Serve this pasta with a tomato, cheese or Alfredo sauce, topped with your favorite meats, cheeses and vegetables.
Bake Your Pasta
Baked pasta dinners, such as lasagna, make for a hearty home-cooked meal without a lot of work. Combine your lasagna noodles and any other ingredients you choose for the meal in a baking dish, adding about 1 cup of extra water for the dry pasta. Bake the lasagna for about 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until the pasta is tender and any meats added are fully cooked. White or red lasagnas are the most common baked lasagna recipes. Also, you can bake lasagna after it is boiled to make a tasty pasta casserole or baked macaroni and cheese.
Steam Your Pasta
This method can only be done with fresh pasta, which is often found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store. Bring a small amount of water to a boil in your steamer, and add your pasta inside of the steamer basket. Let steam for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and heated through. This method is quicker and more gentle than boiling and results in pasta that combines well with tomato, cheese or Alfredo sauce, and meats, cheeses and vegetables.
Stir-Fry Your Pasta
Stir-frying pasta is a tasty way to make your noodles a little more chewy and flavorful, and works especially well with spaghetti or angel hair pasta. After boiling your pasta, add it to a hot skillet or wok coated with oil. Stir the pasta constantly and cook it for about 2 minutes. Afterward, serve the pasta plain or along with tomato, cheese or Alfredo sauce, topped with your favorite meats, cheeses and vegetables. This method also works well with Asian-style noodles, such as rice noodles.
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