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How to cook pasta

Fast, easy and versatile, pasta gives us everything from big night lasagna to weeknight mac and cheese to cold summer side salads. Get to know it like a pro does, starting with the basics. Our pasta primer video demonstrates how to cook pasta perfectly, every time. Then visit our Pasta Center, which includes a handy guide to all things pasta—including how to match pasta varieties with sauces, dos and don’ts, and more. Once you’ve learned all there is to know about how to cook pasta, you’ll want pasta recipes. Go straight for the perennial favorite with a meatball how-to video, and explore the options with more meatball recipes. Go big with lasagna recipes, try new versions of macaroni and cheese, and reach new heights in leftovers with chicken & pasta recipes. Once you’ve learned how to cook pasta, you’re covered for just about every occasion.

How to Cook Better Pasta

  • Match the pasta with the sauce—a hearty sauce, like meat sauce, pairs well with sturdy pasta, like ziti or penne. A delicate pasta, like angel hair, is best for a less-heavy sauce like what is used in our Shrimp Pasta Formaggio.
  • Remember to use a large pot filled with plenty of water when cooking pasta. Not only will the pasta be less likely to stick together but the pasta will also cook more evenly.
  • So many shapes and sizes! Our Pasta Glossary will remove the mystery from the many varieties of pastas now available.
  • For perfectly cooked pasta, test it by tasting the pasta a minute or two before the low end of the recommended cooking time. The pasta should be slightly chewy, not mushy.
  • Each pasta shape cooks differently and yields a different volume. Our Pasta Measuring Chart will help you plan the right amount needed for your recipe.
  • When preparing a hot pasta dish, don’t rinse the drained pasta. The starch left on the hot pasta will help the sauce to stick. When using cooked pasta to prepare a cold pasta recipe, such as a pasta salad, rinse the cooked pasta to cool it quickly and help prevent it from sticking together.
  • For a fun kid-friendly dish, substitute 2 cups wagon wheel pasta for the elbow macaroni in Down Home Macaroni & Cheese.

All about pasta sauce

  • Jazz up a jar of pasta sauce with the addition of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese. Our satisfying Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta with Beans) is delicious!
  • Save some of the starchy water from the drained cooked pasta and use it to thin out your pasta sauce, if needed.
  • Double the sauce for Spaghetti with Zesty Bolognese, and freeze half to have on hand for preparing a last-minute supper another night.

How to cook meatballs and lasagna

Check out these great lasagna recipes.

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How to Cook Pasta
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