This is a simple outline of how to cook pasta. TL;DR: you boil it. Pasta is usually eaten with some kind of pasta sauce or used in another dish.
- basil (optional)
- butter (optional)
- Fill a large pot about half or 3/4th full with water.
- Salt the water profusely. The rule of thumb is that water for boiling pasta should taste as salty as the sea.
- Bring water to a rolling boil.
- Now add pasta.
- Keep it boiling, but decrease heat as it tries to overflow.
- Wait until pasta is at the preferred softness (see below), then strain it.
- While the pasta is sitting in your strainer, you may add basil leaves or other herbs and aromatics. I also recommend taking a knob or so of room temperature butter and add it in and stirring it, melting it into the pasta.
How long should pasta be cooked?
The often recommended way to cook most pasta is al dente, which often means “slightly undercooked,” or with a subtle firmness that makes it still substantial. Cooking pasta more than that is no great crime, but if you keep it in there for too long, it’ll become mush.