How to Make Pasta

Guidelines for Cooking Pasta

The cooking guidelines for pasta vary depending on the type of pasta you're using. Following are some basic tips for both dry and fresh pasta.

Dry Pasta: For every pound of dry pasta, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a full, rolling boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt, if desired. Gradually add pasta, allowing water to return to a boil. The water helps circulate the pasta so that it cooks evenly. Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking.


Begin testing for doneness at the minimum recommended time given on the package directions. Pasta should be "al dente" -- tender, yet firm, and not mushy. Immediately drain pasta to prevent overcooking. For best results, toss the pasta with sauce immediately after draining. If the sauce is not ready, toss the pasta with some butter or oil to prevent it from sticking. Store uncooked dry pasta in a cool dry place.

Fresh Pasta: Homemade pasta cooks in less time than dry pasta. Cook fresh pasta the same way as dry, except begin testing for doneness after 2 minutes. Fresh pasta will last several weeks in the refrigerator or can be frozen up to 1 month.

Ready to attempt to make your own fresh pasta? Check out the next page for tips.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Italian Cooking: Italian cuisine is not just spaghetti and meatballs. Learn all about Italian cooking in this article.
  • Italian Recipes: You're sure to work up an appetite when you take a look at the Italian recipes featured here.
  • Pasta Recipes: Our collection of pasta recipes offer excellent ideas for an authentic Italian pasta meal.