How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

Cooking pasta may seem like a piece of cake – just boil some water, add pasta, and dinner is served! But sometimes, the simplest things can be the trickiest. In this article, you’ll discover 8 secrets to How to Cook Pasta Perfectly every time.

How to get pasta that is not sticky, not too soft and not hard in the center? Should you add salt to water? Or vegetable oil? Should spaghetti be rinsed with cold water after cooking? I’ve rounded up the best and easiest tips to cook pasta flawlessly every time.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

1. Use a Large Saucepan

To avoid pasta sticking together, make sure to use a large saucepan that can comfortably fit both the pasta and water.

Say goodbye to cramped pots and hello to a spacious 3 or 5-liter pan.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

2. Don’t Skimp on Water

Resist the urge to use less water to speed up the cooking process.

Pasta expands 2-3 times while cooking, so you’ll need plenty of water to ensure it cooks evenly.

Make sure the pasta is fully submerged and easy to stir.

3. Salt the Water

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

Don’t be shy with the salt! Add at least 1 tablespoon of salt per 6 liters of water – some chefs even recommend 2 tablespoons.

Salting the water enhances the flavor of the pasta, so don’t skip this step.

4. Get that water boiling!

Make sure the water is really boiling before you add the pasta.

Don’t rush it – a strong boil is key.

Just remember, once you toss in the pasta, the water temp will drop a bit.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

Need to speed up the boiling process? Here are 3 tips:

  • cover the pot with a lid;
  • boil water in an electric kettle and then transfer it to the pot;
  • add some salt to the water – it helps it boil faster.

Quick tip: If your pot is metal, don’t add salt directly to the water. It can cause stains.

Once the water is boiling, take off the lid and move on to the next step.

5. Stir it up to avoid clumps

As soon as you add the pasta to the boiling water, give it a good stir right away.

This prevents the pasta from sticking together and forming a big clump at the bottom of the pot.

Let the water come back to a gentle simmer, and stir the pasta a few times while it cooks. This keeps them from sticking and ensures they cook evenly.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

Be sure to stir the pasta at least 2-3 times during cooking.

Don’t let it stick together; the pasta should move freely in the pan.

Do I need to add oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking?

And no, you don’t need to add oil to the water to prevent sticking.

Just give the pasta a stir every now and then – it works like a charm.

Plus, oil can make the pasta too slippery for sauces.

6. Give your pasta a taste test 2 minutes before it’s supposed to be done

Before you start cooking your pasta, check the package for the recommended cooking time.

For example, regular spaghetti usually takes 6-8 minutes to cook.

So, should you cook it for 6 or 8 minutes?

About 2 minutes before you think your pasta should be done, start checking it for doneness.

Use a fork to grab a piece of pasta, let it cool for a bit, then taste it.

Do you prefer your pasta a little firm or nice and soft?

No matter your preference, it’s usually better to cook it a bit less (al dente) because you can always cook it more if needed.

7. Save a cup of pasta water.

Once your pasta is cooked to your liking, take a quick second to do something most people forget: Before draining the pasta, scoop out a cup of the starchy pasta water.

This water can work wonders when it comes to making a delicious pasta sauce.

8. Draining the Pasta

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly: 8 Secrets

Once the pasta is cooked to perfection, grab a colander and place it in the sink.

Drain the pasta and get rid of any extra water.

Should I Rinse Pasta After Cooking?

If you’re dealing with some low-quality pasta, it’s a good idea to give it a rinse after cooking.

Just use some cold boiled water to rinse off the starch water and prevent the noodles from sticking together.

For high-quality durum wheat pasta, rinsing is only necessary if you’re planning to store it in the fridge or use it in salads.

If you’re serving the pasta hot with sauce, skip the rinse.

In fact, Italian chefs suggest adding a bit of the leftover starch water to help the pasta and sauce blend together nicely.

So, now you know How to Cook Pasta Perfectly! Enjoy cooking!

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