By overwhelming the pot, there’s a good chance your pasta will end up sticky and gummy. “When you add pasta to a small amount of water, it lowers the temperature of the water substantially more than if you added it to a large amount of water, so the water will take longer to return to a boil,” explains chef Michael Symon, an Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. “In the meantime, the pasta will sit at the bottom of the pot and start to clump up and become mushy unless you are vigilant about stirring.” Another reason to just say no: The imbalanced ratio of pasta starch to water will also cause sticking.
In the future, when cooking multiple portions of pasta, fill a large pot (five to six quarts) with water, and bring to a rapid boil. Add two tablespoons of salt, and stir occasionally until it’s al dente.
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