How to Cook Pasta

Dear Boys,

I would feel as though I were insulting your intelligence had my inaugural experience making pasta not been a disaster.

It was my first overnight girls’ retreat.  Spaghetti was to be our dinner, and our leader put some of us in charge of making the noodles.  We should have been able to complete that simple task.  The directions are on the box, after all, and all you really have to do is boil water.  Right?

We were having far too good a time to bother with something as basic as reading instructions.

We dove right into our responsibility.

Big pot.  Check.

Lots of water.  Check.

Spaghetti noodles.  Check.

We packed the pot full of spaghetti and water and turned on the stove.

I am guessing our next several minutes consisted of us talking and laughing and neglecting our pasta-making duties.

When our leader asked how the spaghetti was coming along, we looked into the pot to find a huge mass of noodles that were cemented together.

So, please don’t be offended that I am telling you how to cook something as simple as pasta.  Unfortunately, your maternal genetics require it.

DSC_0008I was cooking fettuccine when I took these pictures.  Only the cooking time will change if you make another type of pasta.  (Just look on the package!)

DSC_0020The first step is to boil a pot of water.

DSC_0024Add the pasta and stir right away.  

Looking back, I think this was our problem.  I’m not sure we stirred even once.  Combine that with the fact that the pot was packed full, and the end result is a slab of spaghetti that no one wanted to eat.

Pasta has starch that will gel when it gets heated.  The noodles need room to move around while they cook, and they need to be stirred in order to separate any attached pieces.

Stir every few minutes.

DSC_0025Take note when the water resumes boiling.

This is when you will begin timing.  For fettuccine, cook 10-12 minutes from this reboiling point.

DSC_0035Remember to stir every few minutes.


When the pasta is cooked, place a strainer over your sink.

DSC_0047Pour pasta into the strainer.

DSC_0049Then run water over the pasta.  This will wash away much of the starch we discussed earlier.  If the starch remains, you’ll have sticky noodles that want to stay in a big clump.

DSC_0055I like to drizzle a little olive oil and

DSC_0060then stir it in, but this is optional.

That utensil you see, by the way, is very handy for scooping pasta.  I recommend one.

Now you’re ready to serve with your favorite sauce.  Enjoy!

I love you,













One response to “How to Cook Pasta

  1. Pingback: Alfredo Sauce | Teaching My Boys to Cook·

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