Mary Ann's Blog

Five Tips for Perfect Pasta

Serving a perfect plate of al dente pasta is not as easy as it seems - unless of course you are in on some useful tips. Here are five of Mary Ann's favorites that will guarantee success every time:

Stock - Bunch of Spaghetti (Small)1) Use a pasta pot with an insert for easier draining and always start with 4 to 6 quarts of water to allow the pasta to expand properly.

2) Pasta is cooked when you can break a long strand or short cut in half and see that no white flour is visible in the center.

3) Some people add oil to the cooking water to keep the pasta from sticking together.  This is a bad idea.  The oil coats the pasta, making it harder for sauces to adhere.  If you follow rule #1, you won't have to worry about the pasta sticking together anyway.

4) Short cuts of pasta such as ziti, penne, and fusilli are best served with chunky-style sauces.  Use lighter sauces, such as garlic and olive oil or butter and cheese, for thinner types of pasta such as linguine or fettuccine.

5) Cooked pasta for oven-baked casseroles should be undercooked and still firm when added to the rest of the ingredients because it will finish cooking in the oven.  Reduce the pasta boiling time by four minutes for casseroles.


  1. cinzia's avatar


    Dear Mary Ann,
    congratulations on your very interesting blog and shows you run!

    If I can add a very little tip on how to cook the perfect pasta:
    -pasta should be put into the water, ONLY when the water is boiling. It is very important for the pasta to cook well that the temperature is always very high.
    Also, after you put the pasta into the water you should reduce the flame so that the water does not come out.
    Finally, salt should be added to the water before putting the pasta.
    I agree with you...NEVER add the oil into the water! I have seen people doing so many times...

    thank you for all your information.

  2. rose patrize's avatar

    rose patrize

    where can I buy the motorized attachment you recently featured when you were making pasta? I think it was on New Year's Eve. I can no longer crank out the pasta

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