Who doesn't love noodles? They're versatile, the perfect vehicle for sauce, and they make for a quick and delicious meal. That simplicity may make it seem like a no-brainer when it comes to cooking noodles. Just throw them into boiling water and wait, right? Not exactly. There's definitely a right way and a wrong way to cook pasta. Leave your noodles long enough and they could turn into a gummy mess. Don't let them cook for a sufficient amount of time and you're left with mouthfuls of crunchy pasta.
That's why it's important to learn how to cook noodles properly. An amazing plate of spaghetti and meatballs starts with nailing the basics first. And as always, that's where Tik Tok comes in. Iron Chef Ming Tsai knows a thing or two about cooking the tastiest, most delicious pasta possible, and he made a quick Noodle 101 video to help you make the best macaroni, linguine, and rotini you've ever had. Best of all? You don't need any special tools or ingredients beyond what you probably already have in your kitchen.
Here's the TikTok noodle cooking hack from Chef Ming Tsai that'll give you perfect pasta, every time—as long as you follow his directions, anyway.
Ming Tsai's TikTok hack is quick and easy, and you can commit it to memory immediately. Best of all, you don't have to drastically change the way you've been cooking noodles or anything. You can use the same pan, same types of noodles, and whatever sauces and delicious additions you want. But you are going to have to up that salt usage quite dramatically.
In Ming's TikTok, captioned "How to make perfect noodles", he has one simple missive to share to kick things off: "Noodles 101," he begins. "Salt it— like seawater."
Ming has a pot with pasta that's already boiling with a lid on, which is important to the process. He notes that, once you've salted your water, you should cover your pot as that ensures your water will come to a boil more quickly. And once it does come to a boil, take the lid off once more.
This is where adding the right amount of water comes in. Not too little, not too much— but you should err on the side of more than you think you might need. In fact, adding too little water to your pasta is detrimental to the process.
"You see the amount of water I have here?" Chef Ming asks. "There's at least 4 to 5 times water to noodles. If you use a small pot to cook noodles in, you end up with gummy noodles."
Make sure you're using a large enough pot to hold all of the extra (very salty) water you're using to cook your noodles in, and things should just flow from there. But salting your water and making sure you use enough doesn't get you out of the woods just yet.
Next, you should have a strainer in the sink to drain your noodles. But Ming adds something else to the equation: a stainless steel bowl. Why would you want a regular bowl when you're trying to get rid of the excess water? That's easy. Pasta water to finish off your dish!
"I dump my noodles quickly," Ming explains. "I then pull the strainer out to drain my noodles, but it saves some extra pasta water in my stainless steel bowl. That's what you need to finish off with, especially when you're finishing an Italian pasta dish." It doesn't necessarily need to be a stainless steel bowl if you don't have one, but if you want to match Ming's way, this is the best way to go about it.
And that's it! To recap, those are some very easy hacks to remember that should help you end up with delicious strands of soft spaghetti or mouthfuls of moist macaroni.
"A lot of water, make sure it's salted, can't go wrong," says Ming. Easy-peasy.
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