The Easiest Way To Prevent Pasta From Sticking Is All In The Water

The art of cooking pasta is much more than simply pouring a box of dried pasta into the water and draining it after a set amount of minutes. Once you figure out how much water you actually need to boil the pasta, you need to figure out how long to cook the pasta. If you're using dried pasta, it's typically about 10-12 minutes, though it will depend on the type of pasta you're using. Once the pasta is cooked to a perfect al-dente, it's time to strain it and serve. While this seems pretty straightforward, if you've ever made pasta, you know that sometimes the pasta can clump together in a sticky mess, which is less than ideal for serving and eating.

Before you go tossing all your hard work down the drain (literally), there is a simple solution for avoiding a pasta cooking mistake. The key is to cook your pasta on a continuous rolling boil, which allows the pasta to move around and not stick to each other. Pasta is full of starch, which is immediately released when pasta hits the water. The starch makes everything super sticky, so ensuring the pasta can move around helps disperse the starch and keeps your pasta from clumping into an inedible ball.

Keep your water boiling

While it may be tempting to add the pasta to water before it boils, that's a huge no-no. Pouring the pasta into cold water may not allow the pasta to cook evenly, and even though you can still cook it cold, it may overcook and result in a gooey texture. So what do you do if you have a rolling boil, add the pasta, and suddenly the water comes to a standstill? This is common since the addition of pasta cools the water down, but all you need to do is add more water or cook your pasta in smaller batches.

We know that keeping the pasta moving ensures it won't stick, but it also helps to give the pasta a swirl in the first two minutes of cooking. This is the time when the most starch is released, so stirring it will provide another layer of protection against sticking. One common pasta misconception is that adding a bit of olive oil to the water is a great way to keep the noodles from sticking. The oil will make the noodles more slick, but in the end, the final sauce will simply slide off the noodle. Stick to the tried and true method of boiling the water, adding the salt, and cooking the pasta, and you're guaranteed a delicious, al-dente pasta meal.