It may seem like a very basic cooking skill, but there are a few vital steps to take in order to ensure you get perfect pasta, every time.
Give it space.
Pasta needs plenty of room to expand, so use a large pot and plenty of water.
Salt the water.
Be generous. Any Italian nonna will tell you that it should taste as salty as the sea.
Bring it to a boil.
Before you add any pasta, the water should be at a rollicking, rolling boil. Adding the pasta too soon, when the water isn’t hot enough, might prevent it from cooking evenly.
Stir the pot at least two or three times during cooking to avoid clumping.
Check the packaging for the cooking time, but don’t assume that time is correct. Start checking the pasta when there are about two minutes to go. Fish out a single piece of pasta, let it cool for a few seconds and then bite into it. Your pasta should be springy and chewy with some “bite” left – this is known as al dente.
Finish it off
If you’re serving pasta with a sauce, it’s best to drain it 1-2 minutes before it’s ready and let it finish cooking in the sauce.