Food & Nutrition

12 Mistakes You’re Making When Cooking Pasta

These expert tips will not only help you turn out perfect pasta dishes every time, but they’ll also answer that age-old question: Should you throw a strand of pasta up against the wall to see if it’s done?

Our experts

Variety of types and shapes of dry wholemeal pastakuvona/Shutterstock

Pasta may just be the ultimate comfort food, except when it comes time to prepare it. Salt the water? Rinse the cooked noodles? The controversy abounds, so we’ve turned to Taste of Home and two major names in the world of pasta: Chef Carmine Di Giovanni of New York’s Aunt Jake’s, and Glenn Rolnick, executive chef at Carmine’s. Their pasta palaces dot the culinary landscape from New York to Las Vegas, and they reveal, once and for all, the right way to prepare your noodles.

You don’t salt the water

Cook takes cup of salt to water in bowlanastasiia agafonova/Shutterstock

Chef Di Giovanni, Aunt Jake’s: Absolutely yes, you should salt the water.

Chef Rolnick, Carmine’s: Yes, salt it—about one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.

Salt is added to the water to improve the taste of the pasta, but if someone at the table is on a low-sodium diet, you can leave it out and let each person salt their own serving. Learn how to avoid the top mistake home chefs make when cooking pasta.

You add a splash of olive oil to the water

Olive-oilAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Chef Di Giovanni, Aunt Jake’s: Oil is not necessary.

Chef Rolnick, Carmine’s: No oil—it will make the pasta gummy.

Despite what almost everyone thinks, this is a major no-no, and nearly all famous pasta chefs agree.

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