There are several ways to cook a pasta.
1. Just cook one based purely on whatever you know right now in 30 min.
2. Google one recipe on the internet and follow the instructions.
3. Find several recipes online, and mix them up to try out your own recipe.
4. Read about the food science behind making the perfect tomato sauce to inform the choices you make with number 3.
5. Start from first principles – measure every input, including salt, with a weighing scale. Measure the temperature of the pan in which you sauté the garlic. Take detailed notes on the results. In effect, turn your kitchen into a lab and your notebook into a lab record:
|Pasta type||Pasta Cooking Time||Pasta Result||Tomato type||Tomato cooking time||Heat level||Sauce results|
|Fusilli||11 min||Kernel too hard||Fresh tomatoes (winter)||45 min||Level 4 on hot plate||Too sour|
|Spaghetti||11 min||Cooked to a mush||Canned, supermarket grade||45 min||Level 3 on hot plate||Rich flavour, but not sweet enough|
|Rigatoni||11 min||Al-dente perfection||Canned, imported from Italy||45 min||Level 3 on hot plate||Sweet and sourness in perfect balance|
If you followed method 1 for every dish you cooked, your cooking isn’t likely to improve very much, but you save a ton of time. If you follow method 5 every time, you are likely to turn into a food scientist if you don’t burn yourself out first.
An important parameter to optimize for is the degree of optimization itself. If what you need is good enough, but what you have is perfect, your solution isn’t optimal.
Pasta aside, the perfect recipe for burnout is to optimize to the fullest extent every single time.