Included In Your Kit
KEY: GOOD ★★★ FAIR ★★ POOR ★
1. Cuisinart Stainless 12-Quart Stockpot
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated February 2007
Best Buy - Recommended
In pretesting, we determined that a 12-quart stockpot is the most useful and versatile option for the average home kitchen. We tested stockpots by cooking 2 pound batches of pasta and corn and double batches of beef chili. Stockpot shape, weight, and grip were particularly influential in our ratings.
WEIGHT 4.35lbs • STAINLESS STEEL WITH ALUMINUM CORE
2. RSVP Precision Pierced 5-Quart Colander
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated March 2014
Winner - Highly Recommended
We compared colander performance while draining 1 pound of angel hair, 1 pound of orzo, and 2 cups of salted diced tomatoes. We noted perforation coverage, stability, and elevation from the sink floor (to prevent backwash). After testing, we compared ease of cleanup both when hand washing and in the dishwasher.
HOLE SIZE 2.28mm • DISHWASHER SAFE • STAINLESS STEEL
3. OXO Nylon Spaghetti Server
Reviewed in Cook's Illustrated March 2012
Winner - Highly Recommended
EASE OF USE ★★★
We tested pasta forks against each other and against our favorite tongs while preparing and serving slippery spaghetti; delicate, clump-prone angel hair; and short penne. Each pasta fork was evaluated for stirring and separating, snagging a piece to test for doneness, and tossing the pasta with sauce.
WEIGHT 2.5oz • DISHWASHER SAFE
4. Pasta Revolution Cookbook
Put away all your preconceived notions about pasta. The test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen have stepped up to the stove to take a fresh look at everything pasta, taking nothing for granted and putting everything to the test. Our team has developed more than 200 foolproof recipes for everything from old country classics and family-friendly casseroles to fresh-flavored pestos, innovative Asian noodle dishes, and slowcooker sauces.
Pasta Tips & Tricks
Pairing Pasta Shapes and Sauces
There’s only one basic rule to follow: Thick, chunky sauces go with short pastas, and thin, smooth, or light sauces go with strand pastas.
Short tubular or molded pasta shapes do an excellent job of trapping and holding on to chunky sauces. Sauces with very large chunks are best with rigatoni or other large tubes. Sauces with small chunks pair better with fusilli or penne.
Long strands are best with smooth sauces or sauces with very small chunks. In general, wider noodles, such as pappardelle and fettuccine, can support slightly chunkier sauces.
The 6 Steps to Cooking Dried Pasta
USE PLENTY OF WATER - Boil 4 quarts of water per 1 pound of pasta.
SALT THE WATER, DONT OIL IT - Add 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water to flavor the pasta. Adding oil to the cooking water just creates a slick on the surface of the water, doing nothing for the pasta.
ADD THE PASTA AND STIR - Stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Stirring pasta when you first add it to the water, and again occasionally as it cooks, will prevent it from sticking together to the pot.
CHECK OFTEN FOR DONENESS - Several minutes before the pasta should be done, begin tasting it. When the pasta is almost al dente, remove the pot from the heat.
RESERVE SOME COOKING WATER, THEN DRAIN - Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Shake the drained pasta in the colander once or twice to remove any excess liquid.
SAUCE IN THE POT - Return the drained pasta to the now-empty pot, add the sauce, and toss using tongs or a pasta fork. Add pasta cooking water as needed until the sauce reaches the proper consistency.