Everyone knows how to boil pasta, right? -Think about the last soggy rigatoni salad you ate before you answer.- The good news is that making perfect pasta is easy is if you know the rules.
1. Use plenty of water, (About 2 quarts for every cup of pasta).
Cleaning bigger pots is a pain, but sticky clumps of pasta are worse, more water means more room for your pasta to move
2. Bring water to a full boil before adding pasta
Do I need to mention the clumps again? A full boil means you can stop adding oil to your water to keep the pasta from sticking, hooray!
3. Season your water
Bland is a really mean food description. Seasoning your water is seasoning your pasta. Italians say that pasta water should taste like the ocean which is roughly 1 teaspoon per quart of water. Those with salt concerns should check out this article in the New York Times.
4. Set a timer
Pasta cooked al dente holds its own against your sauce instead of soaking it up like a soggy sponge. Every package of pasta has a recommended cooking time that varies by pasta shape and size. Two minutes can mean the difference between magic and mush, so most Italians and serious cooks use a timer to keep track.
5. Do not wash the pasta
Washing pasta makes as much sense as rinsing a marinated chicken. Fresh water strips your pasta of all the flavor you cooked in. If you have to do it for a pasta salad, be mindful and re-season if you think it’s necessary.
Pretty basic, right? Give these tips a try and I’m sure you’ll see a difference. I had to make a lot of mistakes in various Italians kitchens to win this wisdom, so use it assured that there is only one RIGHT way to boil pasta.