Food & Cooking

How Can I Keep Pasta From Sticking to Itself?

Not-so-sticky noodles which Italians refer to as “al dente.

Cooking pasta dishes is never easy because there are a lot of things that can go wrong. One of hardest challenge household cooks, or even professional chefs, is to prevent the noodles from clumping to one another. If you are one of those, who are asking: “how can I keep pasta from sticking to itself,” then this guide is for you.

Boiling your pasta into perfection is not rocket science. And no, we are not going to use the old “oil trick.” Instead, we will use a series of fool-proof actions to bring out firm, not-so-sticky noodles which Italians refer to as “al dente.”

What You’ll Need

+ A large cooking pot
+ Water
+ Salt
+ Tongs or wooden spoon
+ A clock or timer
+ Colander or food strainer

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Fill a large cooking pot with water enough to cover the pasta when you put them in later. If you’re unsure about the amount, remove first the noodles from its packaging and lay it to the large pot. Mark where the noodles reach and fill it up to that level.

A large cooking pot with water enough

A large cooking pot with water enough

2. Add salt to the water depending on your salt tolerance. The ideal ratio is 5 to 20 grams of salt per one liter of water. The reason you are adding salt is not to speed up the boiling process but to season the pasta. (SeriousEats.com)

5 to 20 grams of salt per one liter of water

5 to 20 grams of salt per one liter of water

3. Heat water to a full, rolling boil. When water reaches its highest temperature of 100 degree Celsius, you can notice steam coming out of the pot, and the water always moves without stopping even if you stir it. (WikiHow.com)

Its highest temperature of 100 degree Celsius

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water. At this point, your noodles are covered with a tacky layer of starch. Once water interacts with it, the pasta tends to be stick into another noodle strand or the surface of the pot. To prevent this, you have to do a lot of stirring.

the pasta tends to be stuck into another noodle strand or the surface of the pot

The pasta tends to be stuck into another noodle strand or the surface of the pot

5. Consistently stir the pot, especially on the first two minutes after putting the noodles. This step is the most important key to keeping your pasta from sticking to one another. If you do this correctly for the next few minutes, your noodles will be cooked consistently and without clamping to one another. (OneGreenPlanet.com)

Consistently stir the pot

Consistently stir the pot

6. Cook the noodles anywhere between 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the type of pasta and its thickness. The thicker the pasta, the more time you will need to cook them. Your regular spaghetti noodles only take anywhere between 8 to 9 minutes before it is cooked. To be more precise about your timing, don’t hesitate to use a watch or a clock. 

Cook the noodles anywhere between 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the type of pasta and its thickness.

Cook the noodles anywhere between 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the type of pasta and its thickness.

7. Using a colander or any food strainer, drain the water away from your pasta. Once water is fully removed, you can now add the sauce.

Tips from the Expert

If you are not going to eat the pasta right away, rinse the pasta first with cold water before storing it in the fridge.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to keep your pasta from sticking, you are now ready to cook the best pasta dishes out there. Remember, to add salt, bring it to a boil before putting the pasta and just keep on stirring! 

Do you also have other secrets or techniques on how you cook a great pasta dish, not mentioned in this article? Share us your knowledge and don’t forget to comment your thoughts below.

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