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Pasta 101

A foolproof, step-by-step guide to making perfect pasta―from putting on a pot of water to matching up pasta shapes and recipes.

The Basics

A staple of every pantry, dried pasta—a delectable combination of semolina flour, water, and salt—is a surefire kid-pleaser, a quintessential comfort food, and the basis of no end of delicious dishes. Fresh pasta, which contains eggs, is more tender than dried and cooks in about half the time.

Large pot with salt and spoon

8 Pasta Dos and Don’ts You Should Know 

How to get separate, tender strands every time. 
Photo: Anna Williams

3 Tricks to Cooking Pasta

Should you add oil to the cooking water? Salt? Get the truth here.
Photo: Keate

Dried Vs. Fresh Pasta

No, dried pasta isn't fresh pasta gone old. Here's how they compare.
Photo: Anna Williams

Money-Saving Pasta Recipes

Use what you already have on hand to make these gourmet meals at home.
Photo: Anna Williams
Large pot with salt and spoon
Pasta Pomodoro with Shrimp and Lemon Zest
Ravioli With Peas and Shallots

Delicious Recipes

Basil Pesto Pasta With Zucchini and Mint

20-Minute Pasta Recipes
The sauces for each of these dishes can be whipped up in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta―and in some cases, even less. They're easy enough for everyday but elegant enough for company. 

Penne with Salmon, Arugula, and Chives

20 Easy Pasta Recipes
Simple, fast, delicious meals using your favorite quick-cooking carb.

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Extra virgin olive oil

Essential Ingredients for Italian Cooking Checklist

Stock your pantry with a few basic ingredients to create an authentic Italian meal.

  • Canned tomatoes Opt for whole, peeled tomatoes as opposed to crushed or diced for pungent flavor in everything from sauces to soup.

    Related: The Best Ways to Use Canned Tomatoes 

  • Dried pasta A combination of flour, water, and salt, dried pasta is a quintessential comfort food and the basis of many Italian dishes.

    Related: Common Types of Pasta

  • Arborio rice A short-grained rice with high starch content, Arborio releases starch and thickens when cooked at length over low heat, making it ideal for creamy risottos.

    Related: Risotto, 5 Ways

View The Entire Checklist

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