Apr 23, 2023 | Samuel Albert

Tips and tricks For Making delicious and perfect Pasta At Home

Making pasta at home is a cinch. Being a family's personal favorite, we sure have made it countless times in our kitchen. But cooking this heart-winning dish perfecto every single time can be a tough row to hoe. Nonetheless, be assured! Valuable clues for rustling up that ultimate pasta is just around the corner.

Photo by Engin Akyurt / Pexels

Here are some quick tips for making perfect pasta at home:

  • Boil pasta in a big pot
  • Salt the water adequately
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil
  • Stir the pasta
  • No oil is the new rule
  • Stay close
  • Reserve the liquid
  • Start with the sauce and finish with the pasta.
  • Drain the water just before al dente
  • Ignore printed cooking time
  • Don't let your pasta sit in the colander for long
  • Coldwater is a big no-no
  • Never mix shapes and types
  • Serve warm

  1. Why should you boil pasta in a big pot?

Even if you are cooking a small portion of pasta, you will need to boil a considerable amount of water. Once you drop the pasta in the water, the pasta starts releasing starch. The whole pasta meal can become mushy if you don't boil enough water. So, choose a big pot for boiling plenty of water. 

When there is an abundance of hot water, the pasta has enough space to move around and cook without sticking to each other. Our suggested pasta to water cooking ratio is 1:8.

  1. Why should I salt my pasta water?

Adding salt is the best way to incorporate salty savor into the pasta. If you don't salt it at this step, you can easily make out while eating that your pasta was not salted right. To avoid this, add salt to the water liberally.

A quick way to check our pasta water is it should "taste like the sea, " which is a widely used term in pasta making. What does that mean? Well, our pasta will only be taking a short plunge into the water and won't absorb much salt. So, if you taste the water, it should be salty. Use whatever salt you have in hand but taste check before tossing in your pasta.

  1. Should I boil water to a rolling boil before adding pasta?

Yes, if you want to prevent your pasta from clumping and get the perfect al dente texture. Some people experiment by tossing their pasta into cold water, but that's not my cup of tea.

To bring the water to a boil (and to save on the gas), cover the pasta pot. When water is on the verge of boiling, open the lid, add salt and bring it to a boil without the lid. If you add salt much before and close the pot with the lid, your water will not only pour out, but it'll also raise the boiling temperature of the liquid.  


The temperature will drop down once you drop the pasta in the water. So, once you dunk the pasta, cover it with a lid to bring the water back to a boil. Stay by its side, and as the water is just starting to boil again, remove the lid. Else the whole thing will froth and pour out.

Photo by Klaus Nielsen / Pexels

  1. Why should I stir the pasta?

Once the pasta is dropped into the boiling pot, the pasta clings on the sides and bottom of the pot (as it actively releases starch at this stage). So, you must stir the pasta continuously.

Don't worry! You don't need to stir for the entire cooking process, just for a few minutes. After stirring for a few minutes, you can let the pasta cook by itself without any problem.

  1. Why shouldn't you add oil to pasta water?

Because we have been doing it all wrong for a long time. The intention behind adding oil is to keep the strands of pasta separated from each other. The oil does its job impeccably well by forming a coating over the pasta, preventing it from sticking to its neighbor. But, unfortunately, the same thing happens to the sauce as the oil prevents the sauce from blending with the pasta. So, keep the oil away for a better blend between the pasta and the tasty sauce.

  1. Why should you stay close while cooking pasta?

Cooking pasta may seem simple, but since it is a quick process, you can't just walk away, assuming everything will be fine. So instead, start the sauce prep while waiting for the boil.

After you drop the pasta into the hot water, wandering away is strictly not permissible. Negligence can ruin the pasta and completely destroy the dish. So, free yourself from other chores and concentrate on what's cooking on your stove.


  1. Why should you reserve the pasta liquid?

The starchy liquid has the magic of blending and thickening sauces, creating a silky smooth texture. That lovely coating of the sauce over the pasta is the work of this humble pasta liquid which we always empty down the drain. So, dole out a few ladles of pasta liquid and add them to the cooking sauce.


In addition to making sauces, the pasta liquid can be used for kneading your bread and pizza dough. It is also helpful in making soups and boiling vegetables. Remember to check the saltiness of the water before adding it to any recipe and adjusting the salt accordingly.

Photo by Katerina Holmes / Pexels

  1. Why should you start making the sauce first while making pasta?

The general rule of thumb for pasta making is to prepare the sauce first and then make the pasta. Guess why? When that Bolognese or Alfredo sauce you are cooking is almost ready, you can transfer the pasta directly from the pasta pot to the saucepot (after draining the liquid, of course!).

If you let your pasta sit in the colander, it will clump up and cook further, resulting in the breakdown of your noodles. So, don't let your pasta sit in the colander for long and transfer it to the saucepan ASAP.

  1. Why should you drain the water before your pasta is al dente?

The heat in the pasta and further cooking in the saucepan will finish cooking the pasta to the perfect bite. So, strain the pasta water well before your pasta is cooked al dente.


  1. Why shouldn't you follow the printed cooking time on pasta packages?

The pasta-making process and time are primarily influenced by the stove, the pot, the chef, weather, and humidity. So, don't blindly follow the times printed on your packages. Instead, use it as a guideline and carefully monitor the doneness of the pasta in real time.

  1. Why should you avoid rinsing your pasta with cold water? When should you rinse your pasta?

Rinsing the cooked pasta with cold water will wash away the saltiness, making it bland. It will also reduce the pasta's temperature. So, if you are cooking your pasta dish right away, add the drained pasta immediately to the saucepot.

However, if you aren't going to cook it right away, then you can run some cold water and add oil to the pasta, so they don't stick with each other.

  1. While cooking pasta, why shouldn't you mix different kinds of pasta?

Though different shapes and kinds of pasta look tempting to be put together (especially while creating a dish for kids), their cooking times differ. So, don't do it. If you don't want to mess up, sticking to one shape is the best thing to do.

Photo by Karolina Kołodziejczak / Unsplash

Some interesting FAQs:

  1. What can I use if I don't have a pasta strainer?

Are you out camping and didn't bring your colander along? Never mind!

Use the lid of your cooking pot instead. It works great. Cover the pot with a slight gap between the pot and lid and tip the pot.

Don't have a lid? No problem. You can substitute a plate for the lid.

Try using a dish towel to drain the liquid. Place the towel over another pot and drain the fluid off.

Do you have a slotted spoon or a spider spoon? Why not give them a try! These are great alternatives for the colander. They are handy and comfy to hold, and you can quickly spoon out heaps of pasta and transfer them into the saucepan.

A pair of tongs is very likely to be in your camping kit. You can definitely use these as well. 

Forks may not be very helpful with scooping up fettuccine, spaghetti, or other long-stranded ones but a pasta fork, specially designed to hold pasta, is an excellent way to transfer your pasta. So, toss one along with your camping kit. It is definitely a space saver that serves its purpose.

  1. Should you drain pasta water?

Yes, of course! Not into the sink but into another pot. As I said earlier, pasta water can be used in various ways, and it is criminal to waste it.

  1. How to save your pasta water?
  1. Place the colander into a pot and drain the liquid.
  2. Try using a pasta pot that has a sieve insert. As soon as the cooking is over, lift the insert. The water is separated from the pasta immediately; not a drop is wasted.
  3. Another way is to use a pasta pot with a strainer lid. Wear a pair of oven mitts and firmly hold the top before pouring the liquid contents into a clean bowl.
  4. As mentioned earlier, you can also spoon out/fork out/use tongs to remove the pasta and reserve the liquid for other uses. 

Photo by Katerina Holmes / Pexels

  1. Is a pasta machine necessary?

If you've only started making fresh pasta, no, you don't need any fancy equipment. A rolling pin will suffice. But you'll need lots of elbow grease, of course! 

Don't ward off any help offered by family or friends keen on learning the art; they are your redeemer in disguise.

A food processor or food mixer from your kitchen can be put to good use during this task.

Well, nothing can beat fresh pasta. Once you make it, I bet you'll be enticed to do it again and again.

  1. How to prepare fresh pasta without a pasta machine?

I was enthralled to find that the essential ingredients for making fresh pasta were always in my kitchen pantry. And I don't really need a pasta machine. 

Flour: If you are a newbie here, all-purpose flour is your best bet. The "00" flour variety for pasta is too expensive. If you are bent on going authentic, choose "00" flour meant for pasta making.

Measurements: Cups and spoons don't offer precise measurements. Try a weighing machine instead to get it right at your first attempt. Then, follow a foolproof recipe, so you don't have to regret the effort.

Mix the dough: Most of our kitchens will have some sort of food processor. Make use of it. Then you can knead the dough with your hand.

Opt for the "well" method on a wide surface for preparing it by hand. Mix the contents using a bench scraper (if you have one). At first, it will be extremely sticky, but as the dough comes around, it will be manageable. Rest it for a while and knead again. Add trivial amounts of flour while kneading it. Fold it in, going in circles around the ball of dough. Once you have kneaded for 8-10 minutes, you should reach the perfect consistency. Cover and rest the dough.

Photo by Anton / Unsplash

Roll it out:

  1. Divide the dough into smaller portions and roll it. If the dough retracts, let it relax.
  2. Roll it out as thin as possible.
  3. Flour the dough and fold it.
  4. Cut the dough into ribbons.
  5. Thoroughly mix the fresh pasta with flour, so it doesn't stick with each other.

Cook the pasta: Fresh pasta requires only one or two minutes to cook. So, quickly remove it using tongs or a spider spatula. Don't strain the pasta into a colander. Otherwise, all the extra flour and semolina coating your pasta (that's now in the pasta pot's bottom) will end up in your meal. 


  1. What is the best surface to make pasta dough?

A wooden counter is the BEST, as we aim for a warm surface. Choose a large wooden cutting board if you don't have a wooden counter.

If you don't have a wooden surface, go for what's available.

  1. Can I make the fresh pasta in advance?

Yes, you can.

Room Temperature - After making fresh pasta, you can keep it at room temperature for a few hours and cook it.

Refrigerated - The very intent of making fresh pasta is to consume it fresh. Remember to dry the pasta well before refrigerating it. We recommend using your pasta kept in the fridge within 18 hours (1-2 days at the most).

Frozen- The most important thing to do before freezing pasta is to dry it well. When you break it, it must crack. Separate the pasta into desired portions and store them in separate freezer bags. It keeps well for a month.

Tip to Remember: Once you remove a portion of pasta for cooking, don't let it sit outside to defrost. It can turn mushy. Toss them directly into boiling water, and you are good to go!

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