Basic Pasta Cooking

Cooking pasta begins with boiling water. This seems obvious, but I’ve been surprised at how often this isn’t the first step. Mind you, there are dishes that will require something different and that’s usually to achieve a certain effect (creaminess, for example).

  • Use a large and deep saucepan that will accommodate your type of pasta
  • From the tap, fill the saucepan halfway with cold water. The only reason to use cold water is an old fashioned one: it was believed (and maybe it is true) that fewer impurities would dissolve in the cold water pipes than in the hot water ones
  • Put two-three teaspoons of salt in the water before it boils (and add more to the water while the pasta is cooking if you feel the pasta needs more salt or add less initially until you decide how salty you prefer your pasta)
  • Add a glug of olive oil to the water. This keeps the pasta from sticking
  • Turn the heat on high and wait for the water to boil…
  • Throw in the past only when the water reaches a roiling boil – big, rumbly, boiling bubbles
  • Please never, ever rinse pasta. EVER. You will wash away the delicious gluten that has taken you so long to coax out via cooking


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