Most cooking directions for pasta will tell you to cook the noodles for 7-10 minutes to get al dente pasta. Al dente pasta is pasta that is firm but not crunchy. Most of the time I end up with mushy pasta because I don’t use a timer, I will glance at the clock over the stove, so I know how long to cook the noodles, but then I go into my office where the clock is off by a few minutes.
I will pull out a piece of the pasta to taste it for consistency but it’s usually too hot to put in my mouth so I put it on a plate to cool off. By the time I remember about tasting it it has cooled down so much that it has actually lost it’s mushiness, meanwhile the pasta in the pot is still cooking beyond mushy.
The secret to knowing when the pasta is ready, and not burning the hell out of your mouth, is to fling a piece of it up on the ceiling, if it sticks to the ceiling the pasta is ready.
When the pasta sticks to the ceiling it is perfect. If it doesn’t stick you need to cook it longer. Ideally the pasta will stick for a few minutes and then fall off. If it doesn’t fall off after a few minutes you have overcooked your pasta but then it’s too late anyway and you are having mushy pasta.
We’ve been having a lot of mushy pasta lately.
Both kids love to test the pasta so it is a wonder there isn’t more on the ceiling. Unfortunately they think you can test anything this way so they are constantly flinging food up to the ceiling to see if it sticks. Thankfully pancakes and cookies are too heavy and fall back down, whether they are ready or not.
I’m sure you are wondering why I haven’t gotten the stuck on pasta off my ceiling. I’m wondering the same thing too. I knew I had to take a picture of it for the blog so it stayed up for that reason but pretty much laziness and a mild curiosity to see how much pasta would be up there by the end of the summer. I like pasta salads.
I have to say this: The spiral macaroni is from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, the spiral kind. I hate the spiral kind as much as I hate the cartoon character type of Mac and Cheese. They don’t taste any different but they cost more and you get less. I don’t know why this is, it can’t cost more to squeeze our Sponge Bob macaroni at this point. Maybe when they first started making Sponge Bob mac and cheese but it’s been several years that my kids have been begging for cartoon shaped pasta, I am sure they have recovered the cost of the new mold/play doh pumper thingy they use to make the shapes.
So there you have it, pasta is ready when it sticks to the ceiling.