Quick Recipes and Easy

Top 7 Tips for Cooking Pasta the Real Italian Way


Attitude is the most vital aspect. We should give the greatest attention and focus to our cooking and not get distracted by other things.


To cook pasta we need only four things: excellent attitude, excellent water, excellent salt and excellent pasta.

Always use a large and deep pot. No shallow or small pan for boiling pasta. The best ones are those wonderful stainless steel beauties, with a very thick bottom. Puts lots of water to boil. Even if you are going to cook just for yourself a quick “spaghettata”, always use at least 1 quart of water. You need 1 quarter for each 100 gr of pasta.

If the water from your sink taste too much of chlorine, you may want to buy a excellent filtration system for your kitchen. It is worth it!

Regarding the salt, you need 10 grams per each quarter of water in the pot. Always salt the cooking water. If salt must be eliminated for health reasons, then maybe you should stick to rice for the time being. Salt is a must. You need to buy rock sea salt, possibly harvested from the Mediterranean sea.


Pasta, of course, must need to be made only with 100% Durum Semolina, but that is not enough. The serious pasta lover distinguishes pasta from pasta. Buy only imported Italian pasta, and make sure it is made in Italy (the pasta package could say “Imported from Italy”, but really made somewhere else). Do not trust huge companies like Barilla, that really make their pasta locally. Their quality is not the same.

Also, do not trust a packaged pasta just because it has an Italian name. Check that the package reads “Made in Italy”. Use the best pasta available. I recommend you look for Italian favourites like De Cecco, or Voiello, that you can find at your local grocery store or supermarket. De Cecco is probably one of the best pasta you can buy abroad. High-quality pasta has a golden color with a vaguely translucent appearance.


Once the water is boiling you need to throw the pasta in the pot.

The most vital test for cooking pasta is the cooking time. Usually the cooking time is written by the manufacturer, on the pasta box, but you may have to try

Only add the salt when the water is ebullient, and with that I mean boiling with zest.
After adding the salt, wait for the water to start boiling again. The salt will have melted completely in the water. Throw the pasta in the pot, having fantastic care of submerge it completely all at once, at the center of the pot, where the boiling is stronger. Once it is all submerged, stir it as soon as possible with a wooden fork or spoon. Stir pasta as soon as it is dropped into the boiling water and keep stirring every minute or so.

Never add oil, which will coat the pasta and cause it to repel instead of absorb the sauce. Oil would be needed if you are using a low quality pasta, since the cheaper wheat would make it much simpler for the strands to get glued together.

Let the pasta cook on a lively fire, stirring it every now and then. Be careful of the cooking time: on italian packages it is usually right. Better to stop cooking a few seconds sooner than later, since the paste will in any case continue cooking for a small while after you drain it.

How do you know the pasta is cooked? Well, if you do not have a cooking time on the pasta package, just sample a strand of the pasta. Break it, and see if the inside is still whitish. That means the pasta is still not cooked. Once the core the strand has lost its whiteness, that is the time for draining.


Never overcook pasta. Only serve pasta “al dente”, which literally means “firm to the tooth.” Pasta needs to be cooked so as to be still firm when bitten (but only dry pasta should be cooked “al dente” because “fresh” pasta already is soft to start with.)

Make sure it is as much as possible “al dente” (not soft), because that is the most digestible state. Mushy pasta is not edible anymore, at least for the pasta lover.

Once the pasta is cooked, before draining add a glass of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain the pasta, but make sure you do not drain the pasta too much making it dry. The strands need to be glossy with moisture. Also, you may want to preserve a glassful of the cooking water to add to your sauce. That water will help form a perfect marriage between the pasta and the sauce.

Again, never ever drain your pasta too much. If you use a excellent pasta brand, you do not need to eliminate any excessive starch, on the contrary, too much rinsing takes away the superb flavour of your pasta. Remember, pasta water is not “dirty water”. It is vital to keep a small to maintain the strand moist. In this way you also need less sauce.


I am not going to talk about the infinite variety of sauces you can prepare for your pasta, but make sure you do not “over-sauce” pasta. Use just enough to cover the strands. In any case, the right kind of pasta, when cooked right, is a veritable delight in itself. No sauce is needed to savour such a nourishing food. No matter what, serve the pasta piping hot! Never, ever serve lukewarm or cold pasta.


I did my part. I shared the jealously guarded secrets handed down in the Bontempi family from generation to generation, since the times Rome was a just rustic village on the Mediterranean sea and pasta was still made of *farro* (spelt flour). Now it is really up to you. Let me part by saying: Practice, practice, practice! Invite friends over, or treat yourself and your dear ones to some simple, satvic pasta or some zesty one. Remember, a excellent pasta lover eat pasta at least 5 times a week.

Priyadarshan Bontempi is a meditation student of

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