Perfect Pasta {The Mountain Kitchen Tips

Perfect Pasta {The Mountain Kitchen Tips

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Do you know how to make perfect pasta? Below I have some tips that will help you cook the pasta just right.

How to Make Perfect Pasta:

Tip #1: Salt the water until it “tastes like the ocean”.

Salt the water heavily. For a 6-quart pot, throw in a healthy handful (or more) of kosher salt. The salt doesn’t do anything in terms of cooking the pasta; it’s there entirely for flavor. The salt absorbs into the pasta during cooking, seasoning from the inside out and ultimately giving you a more flavorful dish. Salting your pasta water makes a huge difference! 

Rule of thumb: 1 Tablespoon per quart of water

Debbie making pasta

Tip #2: All pasta is not created equal.

While homemade pasta is amazing, but it is a lot of work. It’s not always practical either. Instead, choose a brand with a solid reputation in the marketplace.

Garofalo is my favorite pasta. I try to use it whenever possible. It’s the closest to homemade that I have found. However, Garofalo is not easy to find in-store, but you can order it from HERE from Amazon.

If you cannot find Garfalo and don’t have time to order it, Barilla makes great pasta too!

Tip #3: Don’t crowd your pasta into a small pot.

For one pound of pasta, use at least an eight-quart pot. Pasta needs room to move freely as it cooks. At a minimum, use nothing smaller than a six-liter pot.

Tip #4: Bring the water to a full, rolling boil before adding the pasta.

One of the prime causes for pasta sticking together is that the water had not yet come to a full boil. When you add pasta to water that has not yet reached the boiling point, it releases natural starches, which act like glue. Since the pasta is simply sitting in the water at the time, the strands stick together. Make sure the water is back to a boil quickly once the past is added.

Tip #5: Stir the pasta two or three times throughout the cooking process.

This will help ensure the noodles move around a little bit and keep them from sticking.

Tip #6: Never add olive oil to the pasta cooking water.

The olive oil coats the pasta and prevents the sauce from adhering to it. Not good!.

adding pasta to salty boiling water

Tip #7: Cook the pasta to the ‘al dente’ state.

In cooking, al dente describes pasta that has been cooked so as to be firm but not hard. Keeping the pasta firm is especially important in baked pasta dishes, where the pasta is cooked twice. The term “al dente” comes from Italian and means “to the tooth” or “to the bite”, referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness. The only way to judge this is by tasting.  Note there will be a small amount of carryover cooking between the time you remove the pasta from the stove, drain in the sink, and combine with the sauce. Usually undercooking by about two minutes from what the box says does the trick.

Tip #8 Never rinse pasta.

When you rinse pasta, you’re washing away most of the starches and nutrients that you were seeking to enjoy in the first place.

jumbo shells in strainer

Perfect Pasta Dishes To Try Tonight!

Here are some pasta dishes you can try these new tips on tonight:

I hope these tips for perfect pasta helps you the next time you make pasta. Once you master the art of dried pasta perhaps you can try some fresh pasta from scratch! 

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The Mountain Kitchen

Hi, my name is Debbie, Author and Photographer at The Mountain Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious homemade recipes using clean food ingredients, and stories about mountain life.
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3 thoughts on “Perfect Pasta {The Mountain Kitchen Tips”

    • Thank you. Between this and the Meatless Monday page I almost pulled out my hair. I had no idea there were so many posts! Yes i am on wordpress and will continue to follow you and all my favorites. Unfortunately a self hosted site makes it difficult to maintain readership unless you were already a subscriber. I need to do more research on the subject…

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