For as long as I’ve been making pasta (my family is Italian, so I’ve been making the stuff since about birth) I’ve known one thing to be true: the best way to test if your pasta is properly cooked is by throwing it against your kitchen splashback.
I don’t know why this is a thing. I’m not sure where it came from (Reddit credits angry Italian nonnas). But I’m certain that it works for me, and I don’t plan on giving up the tradition any time soon.
For those of you who are new to the art of pasta throwing, allow me to offer an introduction.
When you’re cooking pasta, each variety will have a different ideal cooking time (just check the packet). I always time my cook to the lower end of the time frame (al dente is the goal here, friends). A little before your timer dings, remove a couple of pasta pieces from the pot. Use a wooden spoon or a spaghetti server to scoop them out, so you don’t singe off the ends of your fingers, then pop the pasta on a spoon rest or a plate or something similar.
Hot tip: This only really works for long noodles like spaghetti, so don’t go throwing around pieces of penne.
Once you’re comfortable with the heat, tentatively pick up your pasta and throw it against your splashback.
If the pasta sticks (even if it falls after a sec) it’s ready, signori. If it bounces right off, it needs a little longer.
As with every old wives tale, take this baby with a grain of salt and be sure to actually taste your pasta, too. You don’t want pasta sticking to the wall being the only way you check if your meal is ready. But it certainly makes the process a little more exciting.
Want more pasta advice? Here’s a write up on how much salt you should really be using in your pasta water.