Traditional recipes

5 Tips & Tricks for Perfect Pasta

5 Tips & Tricks for Perfect Pasta


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1. Measure out dry pasta beforehand

Photo by Parsa Lotfi

Determining how much pasta to use can often be a tricky guessing game. The key to avoid using too much or too little is simple: measure the amount of dry pasta you want right in the bowl you’ll be eating it in. Since pasta expands slightly when cooked, underestimate just a bit. This trick makes sure that portions are always the right size.

2. Add salt to your boiling water

Photo by Parsa Lotfi

This next tip will ensure that pasta is cooked al dente, so it has a little bit of bite and won’t end up mushy or soggy. As your pot of water begins to boil, add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water (here we used about a tablespoon), and then add your pasta when the water reaches full boil again. The added salt slightly raises the boiling temperature of the water, so your pasta will cook faster at a higher heat. When you set your timer for how long to cook your pasta, use the time on the box’s directions, minus one minute.

3. Stir, stir, stir

Photo by Parsa Lotfi

Once you add your pasta to the boiling water, stir it for the first two to three minutes. During the first few minutes, the pasta will begin releasing glutens, and it is during this time that the pasta will start sticking to the pot or forming lumps. Stirring will prevent the pasta from doing this. After the first two or three minutes, you can reduce stirring to a few stirs about each minute.

4. Use your spoon to stop over-boiling

Photo by Parsa Lotfi

Placing a wooden spoon across the pot of water will prevent the water from boiling over the pot and onto the stove top. Plus, you always know where your spoon is for when you need to give your pasta a stir.

5. Add sauce immediately

Photo by Parsa Lotfi

When your pasta is done, drain it and add it directly to your sauce and mix the two together. The glutens released during cooking that remain on the surface of your pasta will bind your sauce directly to the pasta, ensuring the perfect sauce coating. For this reason, don’t rinse your pasta unless you plan to store it immediately. If you’re cooking pasta for storage, a quick rinse with cold water will prevent your pasta from sticking together in the fridge.

The post 5 Tips & Tricks for Perfect Pasta originally appeared on Spoon University. Please visit Spoon University to see more posts like this one.


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".


How to make perfect pasta

C ommiserating with a friend recently over a break-up, we ran dutifully through her ex's faults – his insensitivity, his collection of three-quarter length trousers – and then, becoming increasingly worked up, she dropped a bombshell. "He didn't like pasta." There was a silence, followed by an explosion of incredulity. How had it lasted so long, we wondered? A person who could digest wheat, and yet didn't appreciate pasta – well, that was clearly never going to work.

Garibaldi relied on the power of macaroni to unite Italy, Sophia Loren famously claimed she owed her voluptuous figure to spaghetti, and chef Giorgio Locatelli reckons every Italian is two-thirds pasta. Despite a lingering fondness for "hoops", even Britain has embraced proper pasta in recent years. These days we know our pappardelle from our penne, and we're beginning to get the concept of different shapes for different sauces, although we're still more likely to reach for whatever's in the cupboard come Sunday evening, and if it's bow ties and pesto, then so be it. But the idea of making our own is still entirely foreign to most of the nation.

Dried pasta and fresh egg pasta are two different beasts. You wouldn't use a waxy potato for baking, for the same reason an Italian wouldn't serve dried spaghetti with a game ragu – it doesn't work. Fresh egg pasta gets its 'bite' from the egg proteins, and is traditionally served with the butter, cream and rich meat dishes of the north, while dried pasta generally pairs better with the olive oil and tomato recipes of the south.

Good dry pasta is widely available these days, as long as you're prepared to spend a bit more than you would on the budget varieties, but, with a little practice, you can produce your own fresh stuff which will knock the socks off anything from the supermarket – a product which, as Locatelli says, has "real personality". As Giulana Lo Conte, who has been making her own pasta since she was six, and whose family business supplies Carluccio's, explains to me, it's "a skill you will keep with you for life".