How to Cook Fresh Pasta

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Learn how to cook fresh pasta in a few simple steps

Aurelie Jouan

Fresh pasta cooks more quickly than the dried variety.

Cooking fresh pasta is just as easy as cooking dried pasta, but it cooks more quickly.

To cook fresh pasta noodles, simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high to high heat. Be sure to add plenty of salt to the pot of water; this will help flavor the pasta.

When the salted water has reached a rolling boil, gently drop the fresh pasta noodles into the pot. Stir the noodles gently right after they’ve been added to ensure that they don’t stick together.

Fresh pasta noodles only need a few minutes to cook. The cook time will depend on the thickness of the noodle and your preferred level of doneness, but, in general, you’ll need to cook the pasta somewhere between 90 seconds and 4 minutes. Al dente pasta will generally cook for 2 minutes or less.

When the pasta has reached the desired level of doneness, remove it from the boiling water and serve it with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly grated cheese, and a pinch each of salt and pepper, or toss the noodles with your favorite sauce.

Need a good pasta dough recipe? Click here for our easy, two-ingredient pasta dough recipe.

Ready to know how to roll fresh pasta dough? Here’s how.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

How to Cook Pasta

If you can boil water, you can cook pasta. Discover the simple tricks to do it right!

So, you&aposre standing in the grocery store looking at an endless display of pasta noodles and you ask yourself, "How do you cook pasta?" The good news is, it&aposs not hard. In fact, it&aposs one of the easiest bits of cooking you can do. Still, there are a few simple tricks to master so your pasta turns out just right. We&aposll show you how to cook pasta, including how long to cook pasta, and answer some frequently asked questions about how to cook pasta noodles.

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For some of the world, noodles are traditionally made with merely flour and water. In other parts, traditional pasta is flour and eggs. But for modern cooks (like myself) who like things richly flavorful yet easy to put together, pasta is made with flour, eggs, olive oil, and salt. This gives the greatest elasticity to the dough and makes the pasta light and rich as it cooks.

Make sure you give yourself time to knead the dough and let it rest properly. These are essential for achieving a soft, elastic dough.

This is also a great dinner to make with kids. Kids love to turn the crank on the pasta machine or roll out the dough with the rolling pin. My five-year-old daughter always comes running when she sees me take the pasta machine out and eagerly helps through the whole process.

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Our Foolproof Guide to Cooking Fresh Pasta

Without any further ado, let’s get the ball rolling…

1. Wait for the Water to Reach a Rolling Boil

Tempting though it may be, tossing your pasta in the pot at the first available opportunity isn’t entirely the smartest of choices. When it comes to cooking pasta, what we’re after isn’t a mere simmer, but rather a rolling boil. The point to be reinforced here is rolling . Meaning, movement across the whole surface of the water the kind that produces large, visible bubbles. This vigorous type of boil not only ensures a more even cooking process but it also helps to achieve a uniform consistency. Patience is key here, but it certainly doesn’t come without reward… Good things come to those who wait after all…

Chef Carmelo’s Tip: Cover the pot, but be sure to leave a partial opening. Not only does this help the water to reach a boil faster, but the opening allows you to hear the rumble of the rolling boil, an indication that you’ve been patient enough and that it’s time to start cooking!

2. Don’t Hold Back on the Salt

Salted water helps to flavour the pasta as it absorbs the salt from the water during the cooking process. It’s crucial, however, that the salt is added only once the water has reached a boil. Adding salt on a simmer will only cause unnecessary delay to the cooking process given that salted water takes longer to reach boiling point.

With regards to how much salt to add, Italian-born food writer Anna del Conte suggests 10g (2tsp) per litre of water, or as she rather poetically states, ‘the water should be as salty as the Mediterranean’. In short, copious amounts make for well-seasoned and flavourful pasta.

3. Don’t Forget to Stir

Once submerged in the water, immediately begin to stir the pasta, as well as at regular intervals throughout. This helps to avoid each individual piece from clumping together or sticking to the side of the pot. Whilst there are those that advocate the use of oil here, we personally wouldn’t recommend it. A much easier solution is just to make sure you’re using a large enough pot, one that easily fits your precious cargo without the risk of over-boiling.

4. Timing and Testing

One of fresh pasta’s many virtues – besides taste and texture – is its extremely short cooking time. Fresh pasta – both filled and non-filled – almost never exceeds 4 minutes of actual cooking time. Its dried – and indubitably inferior – counterpart can, in many cases, exceed 15 minutes of cooking time.

It is, of course, worth bearing in mind that whilst indicated cooking times are a useful guideline, they are just that: approximations. And, in most cases, these approximations result in slightly overcooked pasta. What most fail to take into consideration is the fact that the pasta undergoes further cooking when mixed with a saucy partner.

Understanding when pasta is cooked al dente is a matter of tasting it for yourself! Having spoken to our executive chef, Carmelo, we recommend tasting fresh pasta around 2 minutes before the indicated cooking time to check if it is al dente. This should be done at least 3 times to make an accurate and informed judgement on the matter. This is pasta we’re talking about after all, and deserves all the attention it gets!

Whilst ‘al dente’ is what we’re ultimately after, it is important to make the distinction between non-filled (shapes like spaghetti , bucatini ) and filled pasta ( ravioli, tortelloni ). With non-filled pasta, we ideally want as close to ‘ al dente ’ as we can get. With filled pastas and gnocchi , this isn’t so important. You’ll know when filled pastas are ready when they begin to float to the top. Similarly, if the filled pasta ruptures and the contents empty into the pasta water, you’ll know you’ve overcooked it. With the non-filled variety, you’ll have to be savvy with your teeth and test as you go along.

5. Carefully Drain, Sauce and Serve

When draining, it’s crucial you retain some of the cooking water. As pasta cooks its releases starch into the surrounding water. Which is, as far as we’re concerned, absolute gold! The starchy pasta water acts as both a thickener and an emulsifying agent, allowing the two liquids (the sauce and the salty water) to put aside their differences and enter into a harmonious – and ever so flavoursome – symbiosis. It enhances the overall flavour and helps to achieve a wonderful creamy texture and consistency for your sauce. In terms of how much pasta water to keep? Keep at least a half a cup, and add more if necessary. The choice, of course, is entirely yours.

Once you’ve achieved your ideal sauce consistency, proceed with the last remaining steps swiftly. Pasta cools rapidly, and as it cools, it begins to stick together. It should come as good news, however, that preventing this sticky affair is easy. Drain, sauce, serve and eat within moments of the time your pasta leaves the pot. Besides, we’re guessing your ability to resist temptation is long gone by now…

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We are Pasta Evangelists
Here at Pasta Evangelists we're on a mission to spread the joy of high-quality, fresh, hand-crafted pasta. We deliver artisanal pasta dishes across the UK, allowing you to create 5* dishes at home in just 5 minutes. Discover the amazing tastes of authentic Italian pasta!

25% Off Your First Box
Get 25% off your first pasta meal box when you use code BLOG25 at checkout.

Pop-up Pasta Masterclasses

Learn to master the centuries-old craft of making fresh pasta. Led by our very own Italian pasta chefs, our workshops are hosted in London's cosiest neighbourhood restaurants, pubs and wine cellars.

Is It Worth It?: Fresh Pasta Versus Dried

If you've reached this point and you're wondering why on earth anyone would bother to make pasta from scratch when it's just a boiling pot of water and a cardboard box away, then it's time to get acquainted with the fresh stuff. It's crucial here to understand that fresh pasta and dry pasta are two totally different beasts, each suited to different tasks, and the qualities we look for when making them are accordingly distinct.

Your typical fresh, Italian-style pasta is made from a combination of eggs and flour. As I've mentioned, many iterations of this basic formula exist, but this definition should do just fine for now.

The eggs and flour are mixed into a stiff but pliable dough that's kneaded, rested, and then rolled—usually through a machine—and either cut into strips for noodles or left in sheets that are used to make lasagna or stuffed pastas, like ravioli.

Pros will adjust their basic dough recipe depending on which kind of pasta they're making my basic pasta dough will work well for a wide variety of styles.* Fresh pasta is considered superior to dried pasta in several important respects—namely for its tender, silky texture rich, eggy flavor and soft yellow hue.

*For the purposes of this post, we won't be getting into extruded pastas—your penne, rigatoni, macaroni, and so forth—which require different equipment and a substantially different dough formula.

Dry pasta, on the other hand, typically contains no eggs. It's made by mixing semolina flour—a coarse wheat flour—and water. The two are industrially mixed, shaped, and dried at low temperatures for optimal storage. Not only is it more convenient than fresh pasta, but the denser, firmer texture stands up to (and actually requires) longer cooking times. That same firm texture means it holds up beautifully under heavy, hearty sauces.

The recipe we'll be breaking down here is for a light, springy, and delicate fresh pasta that's as well suited to slicing into noodles as it is to making stuffed pastas, which require super-thin, pliable sheets of dough.

10 thoughts on “ How to Dry Homemade Fresh Pasta ”

Hi Caroline – this is a great gift idea but can get a bit tricky. If you want to gift fresh pasta that hasn’t been dried, you’ll have to gift the pasta on the same day it is made. You’ll also have to be quite careful about ensuring the pasta doesn’t stick together. Alternatively, you could make a flour + water pasta (pasta bianca) such as orecchiette, trofie, or strozzapreti and dry it out. To do this, you can just leave it out on trays overnight and then keep it in an open container for a couple of days. At this point, the pasta should be fully dried out but you can always break a piece to see if the centre is dry. Then, you can store the dried pasta in a sealed container for 1-2 months. This would make an excellent holiday gift and can be packaged up nicely. Hope this helps to clarify!

Hi Liah, great question! We’d recommend trying to use your dried pasta within a month or two. The main thing to ensure is that it is entirely dried before putting in an airtight container. When drying at home, we usually dry on a rack overnight, then put in an open container for a couple of days and then put in a sealed container to keep for longer. Any residual moisture won’t be good for longterm storage. Hope this helps – Lia

Once you have left pasta to dry for up to 48hours (flour and water only), how long can it be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container?

Hi thank you for the tips. I was thinking ahead about making pasta as holiday gifts to give out. How could I make sure the pasta stays fresh?

Great question! A drying rack is a great way to ensure your pasta dries evenly, just be certain to keep the strands separated for optimum airflow. Correctly dried pasta will be brittle to the touch, so it is entirely up to you how you want to dry your pasta – I suppose the best way to determine this is how you plan to store it – pasta dried on a rack will keep its long, curved shape, though is sometimes prone to snapping. Pasta dried in nests is a more space-friendly way to dry pasta, though this may not be as evenly dried, and you’ll have to check on this every so often to prevent sticking. Either way, your egg-free pasta dough can be dried for between 12 and 24 hours, until hardened, yes.

Hope that helps, and best of luck making your pasta!

Leave a Reply

We are Pasta Evangelists
Here at Pasta Evangelists we're on a mission to spread the joy of high-quality, fresh, hand-crafted pasta. We deliver artisanal pasta dishes across the UK, allowing you to create 5* dishes at home in just 5 minutes. Discover the amazing tastes of authentic Italian pasta!

25% Off Your First Box
Get 25% off your first pasta meal box when you use code BLOG25 at checkout.

Pop-up Pasta Masterclasses

Learn to master the centuries-old craft of making fresh pasta. Led by our very own Italian pasta chefs, our workshops are hosted in London's cosiest neighbourhood restaurants, pubs and wine cellars.

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Busiati (also known as busiate) are a traditional hand-shaped pasta from the Sicilian town of Trapani. Like other shapes commonly found in Southern Italy, such as Fusilli Avellinisi (page 68), this one is made using a knitting needle. Busiati are usually longer than fusilli. I learned how to make busiati in the Sicilian town of San Vito Lo Capo, where a local old lady taught me the art of rolling busiati by hand. The name of this pasta comes from the word buso, which is the name of a wooden stick from a plant that grows in abundance locally. The buso is what was traditionally used to shape busiati instead of the knitting needle.

To make the pasta

1. Dust the baking sheets with durum wheat flour.

2. Break the dough into about 2-inch balls and roll them into ½-inch-thick ropes using your fingertips.

3. Cut these ropes into 5-inch-long pieces.

4. Keep the cut ropes horizontal and place the middle part of the knitting needle at a 45-degree angle on the right end of the piece of dough and press it slightly with the palm of your hand, so that the knitting needle sticks to the dough.

5. Roll the knitting needle away from you at an angle with your hands, until the dough gets fully wrapped around the needle.

6. Gently roll it back and forth with your hand to make the pasta longer and thinner.

7. Carefully slide the pasta off of the knitting needle with your hand, while preserving the shape.

8. Put the shaped pasta on the prepared baking sheets.

9. Repeat the above steps until you have no dough left.


  • Knitting needle, size 0 or 1
  • Knife, nonserrated
  • 3 (10-by-15-inch) baking sheets
  • Large pot, to cook the pasta
  • Wooden spoon, to stir the pasta
  • Colander, to drain the pasta

To cook the pasta

1. Set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil (see page 40). Cook the pasta in the boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. To test this, remove a piece of pasta from the pot and take a bite. It should be cooked but still slightly firm in the center.

2. When the pasta is ready, drain it through a colander and shake out the excess water.

3. Serve immediately with the sauce of your choice.

Serving Suggestion

Busiati are traditionally served with Pesto alla Trapanese (page 185) or with a simple Tomato and Basil Sauce (page 182). Both sauces are a staple in the area of Trapani, where busiati were created. Treat your taste buds to a complete Sicilian experience by serving busiati with slices of fried eggplant and grated Pecorino Romano on the top.

When shaping busiati, make sure to lightly dust the ropes of dough with durum wheat flour before rolling them. If the dough sticks to the knitting needle, you will not be able to slide out the busiato without ruining its shape.


  • 1 batch Know-by-Heart Durum Wheat Pasta Dough (page 16)
  • Durum wheat flour, for dusting
  • Sea salt, for cooking the pasta

How to make your own pasta from scratch

While we all love quality store-bought pasta – making your own is affordable, delicious and can sit in your pantry for months without spoiling. Flour, eggs and a pinch of salt is all you need to create a batch. You can use a pasta machine (see instructions, below), but with little effort and big reward you can create fabulous fresh pasta at home using just a rolling pin and a good dose of Italian music to accompany you – it makes it taste better, too.

How to use a pasta machine

To roll out pasta with a pasta machine, following the included instructions, set machine to widest setting then lightly flour machine and dough.

Feed 1 dough portion through machine. Repeat 2 more times, folding dough in thirds and turning 90° between rolls until smooth and the same width as the machine (at least 12cm).

Halve dough widthways. Feed each dough half through machine separately, without folding, narrowing the machine setting 1 notch at a time, until you reach the second last setting. The pasta should be 1–2mm thick.

Repeat with the remaining dough portions to make another 6 sheets.

To cut pasta, continue recipe from Step 14 or, if you have pasta-cutting attachment, attach to machine and feed pasta sheets through (as pictured above).

In a food processor, process flour, salt and eggs until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Turn out on a clean dry surface and continue from Step 5.

For linguine and fettuccini noodles, use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut the pasta dough. We didn&apost measure the width of our cuts, but if you&aposre looking for uniform noodles use a ruler. For fettuccini, aim for about ¼ inch wide, for linguine about ⅛ inch wide. Dust your noodles with a couple tablespoons of flour or enough to keep them from sticking during cutting.

For ravioli, you will want a ravioli press (It&aposs like a cookie cutter for pasta.) Dip the press into flour between cuts to prevent sticking. Don&apost forget to cut double the amount of pieces you cut because you&aposll be using two pieces to create each filled ravioli. Place a mound of your desired filling in the center of half the shapes.  Use a pastry brush or your finger to moisten the edges of the dough with water. Cover with a second piece of dough. Seal the edges using the side of your hand.

Making Pasta by Hand Without a Machine

1. Make a well. Measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in the salt, and shape the flour into a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center.

2. Add the eggs and oil. Break the eggs into the center of the well and add the oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid doesn’t breach the walls of the well.

3. Draw in the flour. Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it won’t flow over the wall.

4. Use your hands. When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more water without becoming stiff, don’t use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time.

5. Knead the dough. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour, and flatten the ball of dough into a disk. Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion.

6. Let the dough rest. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry.

7. Roll out the dough. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and slip 3 pieces back under the bowl. Flatten the remaining piece into a disk and dust with flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough away from you. Lift the dough, flour the work surface again, if necessary, and turn the dough 90 degrees. Roll out again.

8. Test for thinness. Continue rolling the dough until you can see your hand through it. For tagliatelle, taglierini, pappardelle, stuffed pastas and lasagne, roll out to 1/32 inch (1 mm.) thick. For fettuccine and trenette, roll out to 1/16 (2 mm.) thick. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

9. Cut into sections. Place the rolled-out pasta sheet on a clean work surface. Using a pizza cutter or paring knife, cut the pasta sheet into sections 4-5 inches (10-13 cm.) wide and 14 inches (35 cm.) long. You may find it helpful to use a ruler for guidance.

10. Cut strands. On a lightly floured work surface, starting on a short side, roll up a pasta sheet into a loose, flat cylinder. Using a chef’s knife, cut the cylinder crosswise to create strands. To make fettuccine and tagliatelle, cut at about 1/4-inch (6-mm.) intervals. For pappardelle, cut at 3/4-1 inch (2-2.5-cm.) intervals. For trenette, cut just shy of 1/4-inch (6-mm.) intervals. For taglierini, cut at 1/16-inch (2-mm.) intervals. Gently shake out the noodles to separate them.

Watch the video: ΤΑΛΙΑΤΕΛΕΣ από τον chef Γιάννη Λουκάκο (May 2022).


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