DO USE A LARGE POT
This allows plenty of space for water and gives the pasta room to cook. A light pot rather than a heavy one works best – the water will come to a boil faster and return to a boil quickly after you add the pasta.
DO ADD SALT TO THE COOKING WATER
The usual recommendation is around 1 T per 2 litres. This seasons the pasta from the inside out, enhancing the final flavour of your dish.
DO SAVE THE DRAINED COOKING WATER
Scoop out a cup of the cooking water before you drain the pasta. A splash can help loosen pestos or creamy sauces such as Alfredo.
DO BITE INTO A PIECE TO CHECK THAT IT’S DONE
The thing about throwing it against the wall – well, if it sticks, you end up with a messy wall (and who needs extra work?). Just bite into a piece shortly before the cooking time is up to see whether it’s al dente (still slightly chewy). Fresh pasta will rise to the surface when it’s ready.
DON’T ADD OIL TO THE COOKING WATER
You’re not putting your good olive oil to good use and it’ll just make the pasta too slippery to hold the sauce. Rather stir the pasta at intervals with a pasta fork to prevent clumping.
DON’T DRAIN PASTA UNTIL IT’S DRY
A little of the starchy water is good for the sauce – and sometimes you should save the water and use it. Pasta goes gummy if it’s drained and left to stand – rather transfer it to the sauce as soon as possible.
DON’T RINSE PASTA
Unless you’re planning to use it for a pasta salad. Then drain it, give it a quick rinse to remove residual starch and toss in a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
DON’T BREAK PASTA TO FIT IT INTO THE POT
Rather let the ends stick out until the submerged sections soften. Then stir to bend the pasta and submerge it.