How to cook pasta properly

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

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For 300 g, you will need:
  • 1 water 2 litres water
  • 2 pasta 300 g pasta
  • 3 coarse salt 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • Total weight: 2,315 grams

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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  • When will I finish if I start the recipe at ... ?
    When should I start for the recipe to be ready at ... ?
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 10 min.
How to cook pasta properly
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
When water comes back to the boil, add pasta all at once.

Stage 3
How to cook pasta properly
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
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
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
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
When pasta is drained, discard cooking water and put pasta back into the pan.

Stage 8 - 1 min.
How to cook pasta properly
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.
Home made.
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).
Possible allergens in this recipe: Gluten, Egg
How much will it cost?
  • For 300 g : 0.34 €

Change currency:

Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.
This recipe uses (among others)
WaterWater: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: Bacon rolls, Puff or flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée), Valay-Brest, Du Barry soup, Pumpkin (or potimarron) soup, ... All
PastaPasta: You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Sunday night pasta, Pasta with mushrooms, Penne with purple artichokes, Mozzarella pasta bake, Tuna pasta, ... All
Coarse saltCoarse salt: You can get more informations, or check-out other recipes which use it, for example: How to prepare spinach, Stock-pot fish , Potted meat (rillettes), Fish in a salt crust, Gravlax, ... All
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