How to Cook Perfect Pasta

How to Cook Perfect Pasta

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I have received a hoard of emails lately (ok, really only 3) regarding pasta and how to cook it just right. I figured it was high time I put a post together detailing a few simple pasta cooking techniques that have worked well for me. I have a few more of these “How To…” posts coming up in the near future highlighting basic cooking tips.  I hope you will find them helpful (and not too boring, it is a bit more fun to come here and look at a big piece of cheesecake dripping with chocolate ganache, after all).

However, in the real world of feeding busy families, homemade cheesecake generally only rolls around 1.3 times a year while the need for perfectly cooked pasta shows its practical face ever so frequently and considering the fact that my tutorial on How To Make Perfect Baked Potatoes is ranking in the top 5 most trafficked posts on my site I figured it was time to get back to the basics and focus on the practical.  Now and then. Do not doubt that I will be posting something dripping with chocolate very soon. 🙂 Eye candy of this nature super important.

Let me know if there is a particular cooking topic you are interested in and I will do my best to put a post together regarding it. Stay tuned for a tutorial coming up in the near future on How To Cook Rice.

Very, very exciting (mind blowing!) topics on the horizon, friends.

How to cook perfect pasta at Jamie Cooks It Up! IMG_6985_edited-1

1. Choose a good quality pasta. Barilla is my favorite.


2. Choose a pot big enough to hold 5-6 quarts of water, per pound of pasta. Pour hot tap water into it (this will help it boil quicker). Get it onto the stovetop, turn the heat to high and allow the water to come to a hard boil.


3. Add about 2-3 Tb of table salt to the pot. If you are using freshly cracked sea salt, you will need less. Adding this much salt really adds to the flavor of the pasta.


4. Pour your pasta into the pot and give it a nice stir. Allow the water to return to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to medium high and allow the pasta to cook.


You’ll want to stir it now and again so it doesn’t stick.


5. Pasta can take anywhere from 9-15 minutes to cook, depending on its size. Be sure to check your package directions for guidelines in this area. You want to be sure not to overcook it. Mushy pasta isn’t super delish, if you know what I am saying. The pasta should still be slightly firm in the center. Not crunchy, mind you. Just slightly firm. This is called “al-dente”.  The best method for checking the pasta for doneness  is to select one piece from the pot, blow on it to cool it down and taste it. Very scientific, yes?


6. When the pasta is “al-dente” pour it into a colander you have previously set in your sink. If you are serving the pasta cold (like in a pasta salad) then immediately run cold water over it until each piece is not longer warm.


7. If you are planning to serve the pasta warm, then go right ahead and serve it up. If you aren’t quite ready to eat yet, but want the pasta to stay warm without it sticking together, toss it back into the pot you just cooked it in (the pot should still be warm).


Drizzle a bit of olive oil (about 1 Tb) over the top and stir it in. This will help the pasta to keep from sticking. You can also use a bit of butter, if you so choose.

Place the lid on the pot to keep it warm until you are ready to use.

That’s it, guys. Fabulous pasta is in your future!  Hope this has given at least 2 or 3 of you some good ideas for your pasta cooking. If you have additional pasta cooking tips please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Here are a few of my favorite pasta recipes…

30 Minute Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta from Jamie Cooks It Up30 Minute Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Bruschetta Chicken and Pasta Salad from Jamie Cooks It Up!!Bruschetta Chicken and Pasta Salad 

Crispy Chicken with Italian Sauce and Bowtie Noodles (NEW and IMPROVED)Crispy Chicken with Bowties and Creamy Italian Sauce

Spinach and Mushroom Orzo Pasta from Jamie Cooks It Up!Spinach and Mushroom Orzo Pasta

Have a great day and thanks so much for dropping by!

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One Comment

  1. 1
    June 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Don’t add olive oil (or any oil for that matter) to your pot; I see so many folks doing this believing the oil will prevent the pasta from sticking and the claim is simply not true. The only thing that will prevent the pasta from sticking in a pot full of boiling water is having lots and lots of boiling water.

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