10 Tips To Cook Pasta The Italian Way

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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Pretty much everyone thinks they know How To Cook The Perfect Pasta and in most of the cases, the result is everything but good and, most of all, everything but Italian. So if you’re looking for the top Top 10 Tips on How To Cook The Perfect Pasta Like an Italian, keep reading because in this guide we will reveal the secrets to a perfectly cooked pasta.

The 10 Rules of Cooking Pasta Like an Italian

These are the most frequently asked questions about cooking pasta the Italian way.

Should you add oil to the water?

Never add any oil to the water: oil will coat the pasta when drained and your pasta will slick away from your sauce. Oil is used in two situations: when one doesn’t know how to cook pasta or how to prepare a good sauce and when the pasta is of a very bad quality (which should always be avoided!)

When should you add salt to the water?

Salt has to be added only when the water had begun to boil. If you add salt before your water starts boiling it will lose its effect and your pasta will be completely unsalted. If you add salt too late after the boiling point has been reached, the salt won’t have time to be absorbed and your pasta, again, will end up being completely unsalted. The exact dose is 7 grams of salt per 100 grams of pasta.

Should you wash pasta when ready?

If you’re shacking, keep calm and relax: a lot of people put their pasta under cold water once it’s cooked, and of course this is not acceptable for Italians. Putting your pasta underwater will result in the starch to go away and your pasta being completely unsalted and with a strange texture. Don’t do it, don’t!

Pasta cooking

How long do you cook pasta for?

Paying attention to the cooking instructions on the package is fundamental, but you also need to be sure to taste your pasta to avoid it being overcooked or undercooked. Test the pasta two minutes before it’s “ready” according to the cooking instructions.
Fresh pasta cooks quickly compared to the dried one and some kinds of pasta like ravioli or gnocchi are cooked when they start floating on the surface.
Remember: you want your pasta al dente, not overcooked!

How much water do you need to cook pasta properly?

The general rule says that 1 liter of water allows cooking no more than 100 grams of pasta. This because the pasta has to rehydrate and it can do so only if the boiling does not stop. If you use too much water, your pasta may not cook evenly; if you use too little water, your pasta won’t have time and space to stay hydrated.

How do you drain the pasta?

You need to use a colander to drain your pasta properly. The pasta must be drained in just one go and as soon as it’s drained, it has to be plopped into a large bowl. Remember to drain your pasta, not to dry it out otherwise, it will become like glue and won’t taste good.

When should you add sauce to the pasta?

As soon as your pasta is ready and drain, add it to the sauce. Keep the sauce warm in its pan and add the pasta when it’s ready. Never add your sauce to the pasta because it won’t stick properly and it will alter the flavor. The sauce should coat the pasta, not drown it.

Should you break long pasta to cook it properly?

No, never. Pasta has a shape for a reason, and if you break it you will break thousands of years of tradition. Pasta has to be cooked as it is, never broke! If you have got a problem with the size of your pasta, you need to use a casserole or a rather big pan with high walls because the pasta will have to float to cook well.

spaghetti cooking

What do you do with your pasta water?

One of the rules of cooking pasta like an Italian is to conserve a bit of the water. In fact, the starchy water may be essential to bind and thicken the sauce. You may not need it but just before you drain the pasta, save about a glass of the water and use it if needed.

How much pasta should you use per person?

A common rule says that 100 grams of pasta per person is enough.

There you go: all the advice you need to cook pasta like an Italian!

pasta guida per riconoscerla
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