How to cook pasta properly

How to cook pasta properly
Here is some advice for pasta that's properly cooked and doesn't stick.
944K 2,075 3.7
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Last modified on: July 18th 2019

Keywords for this recipe:PastaItalyCookingHow toCooking timeAl dente

For 300 g, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 100 g 150 g 300 g 600 g 900 g

How long does it take?

Time required for this recipe:
PreparationCookingStart to finish
15 min.7 min.22 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 10 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #1
Boil a large pan of water.

When boiling, salt with a tablespoon of coarse salt for 2 litres water.

A large quantity of water is needed to prevent pasta from sticking on the bottom of the pan.

If you like precise numbers, here is the 1-10-100 rule: 1 litre water, to 10 g salt, to 100 g pasta.

Stage 2 - 1 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #2
When water comes back to the boil, add pasta all at once.

Stage 3
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #3
For cooking time, very important, here is a tip: If you use a pasta box or bag where you can read in Italian, cook the exact indicated time (here 6 minutes).

Stage 4
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #4
Otherwise, decrease 1 minute from the indicated cooking time (here 12 - 1 = 11 minutes).

So you will be sure to have perfectly cooked pasta, call by the Italians, who are the world masters of pasta since Marco Polo, "al dente"

Stage 5 - 7 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #5
Stir and leave to cook uncovered for the time indicated on the pasta packet (usually 8-9 minutes, but it depend on type of pasta).

The best way is to taste near end of cooking. It's very important not to overcook pasta, otherwise it becomes too soft and unpleasant.

Italians, pasta masters since Marco Polo, call this ideal texture "al dente".

During cooking, stir once or twice to prevent pasta sticking.

Stage 6 - 2 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #6
After this time, taste, and if it's OK, remove pasta from water immediately and transfer to a strainer to drain, or pour the whole panful into a colander or strainer.

Chefs will tell you that it's better to remove pasta from water, instead of pouring everything into a strainer, because this keeps the gluten (released during cooking) in the water instead of on the pasta, and it's this gluten that makes it sticky.

Stage 7 - 1 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #7
When pasta is drained, discard cooking water and put pasta back into the pan.

Stage 8 - 1 min.
How to cook pasta properly : Photo of step #8
If you plan to use pasta right away, it's ready.

If not, add a tablespoon of olive oil, mix well, cover and leave to stand, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Note: because it's kept hot and covered, pasta will continue cooking, so you should not keep it too long.


It's quite surprising to see how many ways of preparing and serving pasta there are, and at the same time how great a simple pasta dish can be: a pan of spaghetti, a dash of olive oil, some grated Parmesan, what more do we need? hummm, oh yes, a good glass of Italian wine perhaps...


Several days in the fridge, in a closed jar.

Nutritional information

Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
957 Kcal or 4,007 Kj38 gr202 gr0 gr
48 %14 %19 %0 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
41 Kcal or 172 Kj2 gr9 gr0 gr
2 %1 %1 %0 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).

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Home made.

More recipes?

This recipe uses (among others)
WaterWater: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Aperitif rolls, Couscous, Chocolate Chantilly , Hazelnut and orange cake, Mustard baps, ... All
PastaPasta: You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Sunday night pasta, Spaghetti with mushrooms, Pasta with mushrooms, Ham pasta bake, Tuna pasta, ... All
Coarse saltCoarse salt: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Pickled gherkins, Foie gras cured in salt, French bean salad with vinaigrette , How to prepare spinach, Potted meat (rillettes), ... All

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