The secret to restaurant-quality pasta is an oversized bowl and starchy, salty pasta water – never skip that part!
Make the most out of your pasta night with these simple, tried and true tips for pasta perfection every time.
Salt it when it boils.
Your pasta water should be heavily salted and taste briny, and don’t worry, the pasta won’t absorb all the salt just enough to highlight and flavour each noodle. Salting the water is a guaranteed way to make all your pasta dishes more delicious. A common chef idiom is that the pasta cooking water should ‘taste like the sea’. This is a little overboard (pardon the pun), approximately 1 tsp per litre of water will do.
Drop and stir.
As soon as the pasta hits the water, give it a good hearty stir. Continue stirring occasionally throughout the cooking process. This is what prevents the noodles from sticking together. There is never any reason to add oil to the cooking water.
Speaking of cooking water, save some. Always. Keep at least one cup of the pasta cooking water aside before draining. This starchy, seasoned liquid is the key to silky, luxurious pasta. More below in step 5.
To rinse, or not to rinse?
Generally speaking, never rinse your pasta, just drain it. The starchy coating is essential for great sauce coverage. However, you do want to rinse if you’re making pasta salad (to cool the noodles down before dressing) or if the noodles will ultimately be stir-fried (removing the starchy coating helps prevent gooey clumps).
Always have your sauce ready to go as soon as the noodles are finished cooking. Transfer drained noodles to heated sauce and toss together with some of the reserved cooking liquid. This is vital. The starchy cooking liquid almost thickens, or emulsifies the sauce, helping it cling to the pasta. Try our Better than Gigi Hadid’s Vodka Pasta Sauce, there’s no better combo than a delicious pasta sauce matched with perfectly cooked pasta.