How to Correctly Cook Pasta (Shh… You’ve Been Doing it Wrong)

Story by Dan Delgado

Pasta— it’s the simplest dish in the world (behind Pop Tarts, of course), but it still doesn’t taste as good as we want it. Something is missing, yet you don’t know what it is. Maybe Prego isn’t the right move or adding in cheap wine because it’s what “chefs do” and you read it on Cosmo. Here’s a short list of tips and tricks on how not to make any more sad noodles.

First off, you’ve got to buy the right stuff. Specific pasta goes towards specific sauces— it’s a balance between taste and how it looks. Check out this list of pasta and sauce pairings from our friends across the pond at BBC.


Before the vegan eaters start panicking at loads of non-vegan items on the list, we can assure you that substitutes are always available. Soymilk and Olive oil? That’s your creamy alternative, and the boldness is in the veggies, broth, spices or anything else grass-related that fits your taste buds.

However, if you’re risky and ready to take on some cool fun, investing in a pasta maker is a fun first date option and a great way to show off your adulthood. Homemade is always going to taste better so don’t cross it off your grocery list just yet!

Secondly, a common mistake and very reoccurring “oh shoot” moment when you’re cooking is when and how much water to add in. (If you’ve never noticed, then welcome to water 101). This is a key to the perfect pasta and a common measurement is to have a 1:3 ratio between water and pasta, on top of that, add in salt for every 3-4 oz of pasta you have. You’ll thank us later. Lastly, don’t put a lid on the top of the pot, or else your kitchen will look like the set of Worst Cooks in America. In addition, keep some water in the pot while you drain. This will help keep the sauce attached to the pasta in the end.

Third, and most eye-opening: ditch the olive oil. Yup, you heard that right. It’s all a myth— it has been scientifically proven that olive oil does absolutely nothing for the process of cooking pasta and makes the flavor staler. How do you prevent the pasta from sticking? Just keep stirring, just keep stirring, stirring, stirring.

Fourth, get the pasta to cook al dente— which means in Italian, “to the tooth.” You will want a little chew to your pasta. A way to do that is to look at the cooking time on the box and take off a minute. Let’s start enjoying pasta the right way, folks.