Step by step, how to cook pasta Italian style!

Sometimes, people think that cooking pasta is easy, only because they need to boil the water, add the salt, and put the pasta in. 

But when they see the result, it doesn’t look like they expected …

Because cooking good pasta is more than this! 

You have to pay attention to the details and avoid some common mistakes, to get perfect and delicious pasta!

If you follow these tips, you will get the perfect pasta and you´ll feel like being eating in Italy, at your home.

First of all, you must check the pasta’s quality. It doesn´t mean that it has to be the most expensive one. Just check the following :

  • The cooking time in the package: the best one, is the one that has more cooking time suggested.
  • The ingredients: It must be made of durum wheat semolina pasta.
  • The color: if you have the same kind of pasta from two different brands, you have to look at the color. If you have one with a golden color and one lighter, the best is the lighter one.

Once you have your pasta, you must choose a large pot. Pasta needs space to cook, needs to move into the water.

It is also important to take into account the size of the stove: a too small flame on which a large pot is placed would prevent the water from boiling quickly. Conversely, if you use a small pot on a large stove, the water could boil very quickly and escape from the container, dirtying the hob. To boil the water fast, a trick is to cover the pot with the lid: when you notice the steam coming out, it means that the water is boiling. Once you have thrown the pasta, do not cover it.

Prepare your sauce before putting the pasta into the water. The sauce needs to be ready before the pasta.

Never but never add oil to your water. The oil separates and floats on the top of the water, and it won’t prevent your pasta from sticking together. Also, when you strain the pasta, the oil will coat it, preventing the sauce from sticking to it. 

You will need one liter of water for every 100 grams of dry pasta. It is advisable to fill the pot up to a maximum of 2/3 of its capacity, to avoid water from escaping during cooking.

Add the salt when the water is boiling, never before. Add sea or rock salt, 10 g of salt per 100 g of pasta. After adding salt, wait half a minute, to let the water return to boil, and then put the pasta in.

Always read the pasta package instructions. If you follow them you won´t be wrong. Every pasta is different, so the cooking time changes in each type of pasta.

Never in your entire life break spaghetti or other long pasta. It´s considered illegal…. The length is important because when you wind the spaghetti around the fork, it will help you catch the sauce more efficiently. Put your spaghetti together in the boiling water, then gently push them down.

Once you add the pasta, start your timer to cook it the time you read in the package if you do this, you won’t need to throw the pasta on the wall, it´s not necessary…..

A few minutes earlier than the pasta is ready, you have to save a cup of the cooking water while it is boiling to add to the sauce.

Use a strainer to take the pasta out and put it into the sauce. If you have ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti, or other stuffed pasta, as they are more delicate, use a spoon.

At this moment you have to do “The Mantecatura”. You have to do this to combine the flavors. The pasta needs to take the flavors of the sauce, so add one or two tablespoons of the cooking water you had reserved to the pan where you are heating the sauce, then strain the pasta out of the water and pour it into the pan, mixing it with the sauce and ending the cooking time in there. You need to create emotion between the pasta and the sauce (mix).

The pan where the pasta with the sauce is placed must be the right size so that they can be mixed well. Let it heat for a minute or a minute and a half, then take the pan from the heat and serve your pasta.
Serve immediately. Pasta is best served hot and freshly cooked. You can enhance the flavor of your dish by adding grated Parmesan.

Other Pasta perfection tips

  • Unlike dried pasta, fresh pasta takes only two or three minutes to cook, max. It’s trickier to cook than dried pasta, so save it until it has dried down.
  • Stuffed pasta, like ravioli, will rise to the surface and float when ready.
  • Don’t rinse your pasta when it’s ready. That washes away all the happy starches that bind it to the sauce.
  • Make a new dish out of your leftovers: Don’t reheat your leftover pasta: microwave or pan, it will still taste awful. Instead, make another dish out of it. In Italy, leftover pasta is usually baked with other ingredients, such as cured meat, mozzarella, boiled eggs, and vegetables, to make what’s called a pasticcio (literally meaning ‘a mess’!), or mixed with eggs and transformed into a sort of tortilla pasta, called frittata di maccheroni.
  • Match the right format to the sauce: the pasta should be chosen according to the sauce to which it is planned to accompany it. The long one, such as spaghetti, linguine, and vermicelli, goes well with liquid and creamy sauces, while the short and more structured one (rigatoni, tortellini, pipe) is ideal for more full-bodied sauces, such as Bolognese sauce. Farfalle, fusilli, and cellentani are perfect with fresh and light dressings, such as those of pasta salads.

Now you know how to choose the pasta, how to cook it and serve it. All you need is to go to and find the best authentic ingredients directly from italian producers. Buon appetito!!!

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