Olivier Kugler

Yes, you know to cook pasta in a big pot. And to get the water to a rolling boil. But you may not know these three cooking tricks, which will guarantee you a better bowl of pasta every time.

Step 1: Add a lot of salt to the water. And by “a lot,” we mean about 2 tablespoons. Fear not—75 percent of it will wash away with the pasta water. What remains will season the noodles, so that even a simple spaghetti tossed with olive oil and Parmesan will be full of flavor.

Step 2: Stir to avoid sticking. Don’t add olive oil to the pot (it will make the noodles too slick to absorb the sauce). Instead, grab a wooden spoon. Give the pasta a good spin right after you add it to the pot, then once again when the water comes back to a boil to get the noodles swimming.

Step 3: Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. The starchy, seasoned liquid is great for loosening up cheesy, creamy, or tomato-based sauces.

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