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A spider strainer is submerged into a white dutch oven filled with boiling water and half-cooked pasta. The spider strainer is used to pick up a handful of Mezzi Rigatoni pasta noodles to check for doneness. The dutch oven sits atop a gas stovetop range.

How to Cook Pasta Perfectly (Every Single Time!)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main Dishes, Pasta Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Boiling
  • Cuisine: Italian


Whether you’re head-over-heels for all things Italian or you simply love pasta for its quickness, versatility, & affordability, there are a few simple tips & tricks that will take your at-home pasta nights to the next level. Learn how to cook pasta perfectly – every single time! – & be sure to check out the Blog Post, above, for more tips & tricks.


  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1/21 cup pasta sauce of choice
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • for serving, as desired: grated parmesan or pecorino romano, finely chopped basil or parsleycrushed red pepper flakes, etc.


  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. As a general rule of thumb, use 3-4 quarts of water & 1-1 1/2 tablespoons salt per pound of pasta. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside – do not rinse the pasta. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="22506,22503,22513,22514"]
  2. Simmer the sauce: Meanwhile, as the pasta boils, heat your pasta sauce of choice in a large skillet – either use your favorite pre-made sauce or follow Recipe Directions of the specific pasta dish you’re making. As a general rule of thumb, use 1 1/2 cups of tomato-based sauces per pound of pasta or 1 cup of oil-based sauces per pound of pasta. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat until you’re ready to add the pasta. [gallery columns="1" size="full" ids="22516"]
  3. Finish the pasta: Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss to coat with the simmering pasta sauce. Cook, stirring & tossing occasionally, over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, allowing the pasta to meld with & absorb some of the sauce. Adjust as needed so the pasta sauce evenly coats the pasta – if the mixture is too thick, toss in a little reserved pasta water; if the mixture is too loose, increase the heat or toss in an extra handful of parmesan cheese, etc. Remove from the heat & serve immediately. Enjoy! [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="22523,22524"] [gallery columns="1" size="full" ids="22522"]