How to Cook Dried Pasta

Bringing Home Rome, How-To, Learn, Sicily

Most of us don’t have time to roll out sheets of fresh pasta on a weeknight. Dried pastas are perfect to have on hand for quick dinners because they’re easy to store and cook, and high-quality options boast exceptional textures that hold up well to sauces.


Here are some tips for getting the best results with dried pasta:


Salt the boiling water
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil. You’ll need about 5 quarts of water to cook 1 pound of pasta. Add about 2 tablespoons kosher salt to the water.








Add the pasta to the water
Add the dried pasta to the boiling water all at once. Use a wooden spoon to push any strands below the surface of the water, if necessary, so all the strands cook evenly.





Stir the pasta
Using the spoon, gently stir the pasta from time to time to prevent it from sticking together. Adjust the heat if needed to keep the water at a boil, but don’t let it boil over.








Test the pasta for doneness
After 7 minutes, taste a piece of pasta. It should be tender but still slightly chewy, with a thin white line at the core. If not, continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes and test again.



Reserve some cooking water
Spoon out 2 ladlefuls of the pasta-cooking water. This starchy water can later be used to adjust the consistency of the pasta and sauce after they have been tossed together. 





Drain the pasta
Put a colander in the sink and slowly pour the pasta away from you into the colander. Shake the colander just once; the pasta should still be slightly moist.








Check out some of Williams-Sonoma readers’ favorite recipes using dried pasta:

6 comments about “How to Cook Dried Pasta

  1. Does Shape Matter « jovinacooksitalian

  2. Does Water Boil When It’s Watched? « Sarah Lunsford, Stories From An Everyday Walk With God

  3. The art of pasta « livindolcevita

  4. Ways To Save Water -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *