Skip to main content

How to Cook Pasta

Cooking perfect pasta isn't hard. Then again, cooking mushy or crunchy noodles is dangerously easy


  • Step 1: Pour water into pot For each pound of pasta you want to cook, pour 6 quarts of fresh, cold water into a large pot.
  • Step 2: Put pot on burner Put the pot on your stove's largest burner to make sure the heat is evenly distributed, and turn the burner to "High."
  • TIP: Add a few pinches of salt to the water and cover the pot to reach a faster boil.
  • Step 3: Boil water Wait for the water to come to a full, rolling boil.
  • Step 4: Slide pasta into pot Slide the pasta slowly into the pot to avoid splashing the scalding-hot water.
  • TIP: A bundle of dry spaghetti about the diameter of a quarter will yield one cup of cooked pasta.
  • Step 5: Cover pot Cover the pot and wait for the water to return to a full boil.
  • Step 6: Lower heat When the water is boiling again, remove the cover, lower the heat to "Medium-High," and stir frequently. Cooking times vary for different types of pasta—consult your package.
  • Step 7: Taste When your pasta is nearing the end of its cooking time, use a long-handled spoon to fish out a piece. Taste it to see whether it's done—just be careful not to burn your mouth!
  • TIP: Most pasta should be served al dente, or "to the tooth" in Italian. It's the point when the pasta offers a slight resistance at its center.
  • Step 8: Pour pasta into colander When the pasta is ready, put a large colander in your sink and pour the contents of the pot into it. Shake the colander to remove excess water.
  • TIP: Do not rinse the pasta. It will bind better with the sauce if it hasn't been cooled down before they meet.
  • Step 9: Serve Serve your pasta as soon as possible after cooking it to capture the true glory of its flavor.
  • FACT: Dried pasta was likely introduced to Italy by Arabs in the 8th century.

You Will Need

  • A stove
  • A large pot with lid
  • Fresh cold water
  • The pasta of your choice
  • And a large colander
  • Salt

Popular Categories