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How to cook perfect pasta

28 July 2016

How to cook perfect pasta

There are many myths about cooking pasta. Adding oil to the water, placing the pasta in warm water before bringing it up to the boil, rinsing the pasta after – all just a few cooking ‘tips’ that should be avoided at all costs. All you need to do is follow a few simple rules and you will have perfectly cooked pasta time and time again.

It is important to use a large pan and a lot of water to give the pasta room to move and expand whilst cooking, and to help prevent it sticking together. Plenty of salt is also crucial, as it helps to cook the pasta and adds flavour. Bear in mind that if you are using wholegrain pasta, the cooking time will be significantly increased.




  • pasta, dried shape of your choice, allow roughly 80g per person for a main portion or 50g per person for a starter
  • water
  • 1 tbsp of salt


Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil
Season the water with roughly 1 tablespoon of salt
Stir the water and add the pasta, ensuring it is completely submerged
Cook for roughly 8–10 minutes (depending on the type of pasta – some shapes may take a little longer or cook more quickly). Stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it clumping together
To check that the pasta is cooked, take a piece out the water and taste it – it should be soft with a slightly al dente centre
Drain the pasta in a colander. If you are serving it with a sauce you may want to reserve a little of the cooking water to add to it. Don’t drain it too thoroughly, as the starchy water will stop it sticking together
You can simply serve with a little grated Parmesan and some olive oil, or with a sauce of your choice

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