How-To Cook Perfect Pasta

Cooking pasta is simple and easy, which means it is also simply easy to do it wrong. If you want the perfect Italian Pasta with a little bite and clinging sauce, here’s how.


  1. Boil Water – Start with a very large pot of water, about 6 quarts per pound of pasta. Bring it to a rapid boil. Tip: A pound of pasta feeds about 5 to 6 people.
  2. Add Salt – Put in a lot of salt, about 3 tablespoons. If you taste the water, it should taste like the sea.
  3. Add the Pasta – Drop in the pasta while the water is at a boil and give it a gentle stir.
  4. Stir the Pasta – Stir it occasionally while it cooks. Use the cooking time on the pasta package as a guide.
  5. Taste the Pasta – But watch out — it’s hot! Sample the pasta at about 2 minutes shy of the indicated time. It should be al dente. You’ll finish cooking it in the sauce. Tip: “Al dente” means “to the tooth,” meaning the pasta should still have a little bite to it.
  6. Drain the Pasta – Just be sure to save about 1 cup of the pasta water. If you have a pot with a colander insert, use it to drain the pasta. If not, drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink. (If you’re cooking ravioli, use a slotted skimmer and gently lift the ravioli a few at a time.)
  7. Add In the Sauce – Add the pasta to your sauce and finish cooking it in the sauce. Give it a stir to coat.
  8. Add Pasta Water – Ladle a few tablespoons of the pasta water at a time until you have the right consistency to your sauce. Remember, the pasta will absorb the liquid. Tip: Pasta water helps to thicken the sauce.
  9. Let Simmer – Simmer over medium-low heat — it’ll help the pasta soak up the sauce. Follow your recipe’s instructions for finishing the dish. And that’s all there is to it. Perfecto!

Notes: For more tips and pasta recipes check out the Food Network… It’s my Bible.


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