How to… cook the perfect pasta

Cooking pasta is far from being rocket science: If you stick to those eight simple rules, you can easily make the perfect pasta within 15 minutes.

Rule 1: Use enough water. That sounds trivial, but in fact it is crucial. 100g of pasta need about 1 litre of water. If you don’t use enough water, the pasta sticks together and instead of spagetthi, all you get is a pasta block.

pasta boiling in water

Rule 2: Salt the water. For 100g of pasta, take a good pinch of salt and add it to the boiling water before you add the pasta. Do not salt the water before it is boiling – this could damage the surface of some pots. But why do you need to salt the water? The reason is quite straightforward: taste. Pasta cooked without salt tastes flavourless, even if you serve it with a spicey sauce.

Rule 3: Do not put the pasta in the pot before the water is boiling, it is otherwise much more likely to stick.

Rule 4: Do not reduce the heat to quick after adding the pasta to the water – let the water boil for a couple of minutes before you reduce the heat. With this procedure, you avoid that the water stops to boil and the pasta begins to stick.

Rule 5: Don’t add oil to the boiling water. Some recommend this to prevent the pasta from sticking – but it won’t work at this stage. Why? Let’s do a simple exeriment. Take a glass of water, add a few noodles and some oil. And what can we see now? The noodles sink to the bottom of the glas, but the oil swimms on top of the water. So how should it prevent the pasta from sticking now? By telepathie? So forget about the oil – to make sure your pasta does not stick, you have to follow the next rule.

Rule 6: Stir it. And stir it again.

Rule 7: Do not cook the pasta to long – you want it to be „al dente“, not mashy. Have a look at the time given on the packaging to see how long you have to cook the noodles.

freshly drained pastaRule 8: Drain it, don’t drown it. When the pasta is done, drain it with the help of a kitchen sieve. Some people suggest that you should now pour cold water over it – don’t do that. It is again on of those things that should prevent the pasta from sticking together, but the cold water will just make it – cold. To prevent the pasta from sticking, you can add some oil now if you want to, but if you will enjoy your pasta straight away, you don’t really need to do that. It is more important if you want to use the noodles for making a pasta salad – in this case, a little oil can be really useful.

If you follow those rules, nothing can go wrong – so have fun with cooking and enjoy your perfect pasta!

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