Seafood pasta dish in a white bowl on a wooden table

Dear chef, how do I cook different types of pasta?

Ask the chef


Dear chef, how do I cook different types of pasta? Boiling water and throwing in some noodles shouldn’t be that hard, but for some reason I can’t get it right. My pasta either turns out tough and chewy or way too soft. I also hear the term “al dente” thrown around a lot. What is the best way to achieve that? 


“Fresh pasta is more delicate and faster to cook but requires some attention to avoid overcooking. You should cook between 3 to 4 minutes. Artisanal pasta takes longer to cook, depending on the shape of the pasta. For example, thin spaghetti takes about 7 to 8 minutes. But rigatoni will take up to 10 minutes to cook. Al dente means when you bite into the pasta, you see the little white dots. That will determine if it is done or not. The smaller the dots, the more the pasta is cooked. But if you want al dente, you want to see those dots. Look to the dots to get the right level of doneness. Taste as you go.” — Chef Nunzio Patruno, Nunzio Restaurant + Bar

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