ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to cook perfect pasta the easy way

Updated on August 31, 2012

Pasta is a great base for inexpensive meals, but many people worry about getting the pasta "just right." Will it be cooked enough? Will it be gooey? A few simple tips make perfect pasta easy.

First, choose the right pasta for your sauce. Light-bodied tomato sauces or broth-based sauces call for thin, skinny noodles like vermicelli or capellini, so that the noodles can be coated with sauce. For medium or heavy sauces like Alfredo, use wider noodles like fettucine. Short, ridged noodles 'grab' sauces. If you've been avoiding pasta looking for something healthier, all of these choices are available in whole wheat and whole grain versions. They're slightly sweeter and chewier than traditional pastas.

Use plenty of water, and don't overcrowd the pot. Make sure there's plenty of room for the pasta to cook without sticking together. Plan on using approximately 4-6 quarts for 1 pound of pasta.

Adding oil to water to prevent sticking is an old wives' tale. The best way to prevent sticking is to use plenty of water. But do salt the water. This is your only opportunity to flavor the pasta while it's cooking. Just don't get too heavy with the salt. Remember, the sauce is going to add flavor and salt as well.

Bring the water to a boil before adding the pasta. When first adding the pasta, give it a quick stir to keep it from sticking together and to the pot.

Throwing the noodles against the wall to check for doneness is fun, but it's not the best method. The cooking time on the package is a guide, but the best way to see if the texture is right is to actually try a piece. The Italian term "al dente" means "to the tooth," or a little chewy. American tend to like it a bit softer. Remember that the pasta has absorbed heat and will continue to cook, so take it off the heat just before it's done to your tastes.

Drain the cooked pasta in a calendar, but don't rinse it. The starch helps the sauce stick. Only rinse pasta if it's going to be used cold.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      A brilliant and clearly written tip how to make perfect pasta

    • molometer profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I like the method you describe here and will give it a go. Thanks. I just had pasta tonight too.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very useful hub. I hate it when someone messes up the pasta. Pasta is amazing when it is done right.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)