The spread duration is the amount of time that the pasta cooks in the pan. You will want to cook your pasta in a pan that has a tight-fitting lid to help prevent the pasta from sticking. The ideal pasta cook time is about 10 minutes.
My favorite pasta cook times are 20 minutes and 40 minutes. The 40 minute cook time is pretty much a joke. It’s a good idea to measure your pasta and cook it on the stove-top, even if it takes longer than the 20 minute cook time. You can always add some extra water to the pot to make it look like it’s “slow cooking”, but the pasta will taste worse as it sits for longer.
I’ve found that this pasta time spread also works well with other pasta recipes. It doesn’t have to be the same as the original pasta recipe but you can try adding a few extra ingredients. Like, for example, you can add a few extra minutes of cooking time by using extra pasta water. It sounds strange but it will keep your cooking time more consistent with other recipes.
I know this spread works great when you’re cooking pasta and the water is actually boiling (which is not the case with most pans. The water just sits there and doesn’t boil). However, for other recipes like lasagna, I usually just add in a couple extra minutes of cooking time to let the water bubble up. It’s not as if it’s going to be a total disaster.
I always like to tell people to add a half a cup of water when you add water it adds more flavor to your recipe. If you add a half a cup of pasta water to your sauce, half a cup of cooking water will make it taste slightly different.
I agree with the last statement. The way I cook my lasagna is to cook it in a hot water bath. It also gives me the best texture, so I know I am getting my lasagna right. This also helps me keep track of how much water I used, which can help me with the next step of cooking the lasagna.
I have seen many recipes that say use one cup of water for every two cups of meat and pasta. This is true when you’re cooking a lasagna and it is a very thick lasagna, but if you are using a lasagna that is very thin it will go a lot faster to the microwave than cooking in a water bath.
Yes, you should just cook it in a water bath. Also, you should get your hands dirty. That is how it keeps the lasagna from sticking to the pans. If you use an instant pot and put the lasagna in a water bath, the water bath will just keep boiling the lasagna. It takes a little longer, but I have seen some recipes that say you should add 1/2 cup of wine per cup of meat.
It is good to know that the lasagna is ready when you pull it out of the oven, but it is also good to know that the cooking time is based on the thickness of the lasagna, not the number of layers. If you cook a lasagna in a water bath the first time, the second time it will stay in the water bath for a long time, and as long as it is too thick to be a lasagna it will cook faster than a water bath.
You can adjust this duration however you like. Just be sure all your meat is cooked before you put it in the oven otherwise you won’t have enough meat to cover the lasagna. Also, be sure you have one of those Italian-style pans that has a lip that can hold all the meat at once in a single dish.