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7 Of The Most Common Mistakes People Make With Pasta

Even a little bit of extra effort can turn a bowl of noodles into a truly great pasta dish! Just make sure you're not making these 7 common mistakes!

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of pasta? Pasta is there for us in our times of need, like when we forget about dinner and people are starting to get hangry. Noodles, meet sauce—and dinner is served!

But here’s the thing about our favorite quick and easy dinner: with a few low-effort changes to our cooking, we can all make pasta that is perfectly cooked and genuinely delicious! All it takes is avoiding a few key pasta mistakes.

So today I’ll be sharing 7 of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to pasta. By avoiding these behaviors, you can take your pasta dishes from a pile of noodles to a gourmet meal! 🙂

7 Pasta Mistakes That Are Surprisingly Common

1. Using A Too-Small Pot

Sure, it can be a bit of pain to wash your big pasta pot, but it’s no excuse to use a smaller pot! You’ll always get better results cooking your pasta in a big pot with lots of water than a small pot with less water.

The extra space gives the pasta room to move around while it cooks. And the more it can move, the less likely it is you’ll end up with sticky, unevenly cooked pasta globs.

2. Pouring Sauce On The Pasta

The final stages of the cooking process can make or break a pasta dish! The simple act of marrying your pasta and sauce together on your stovetop can make the difference between a delicious, gourmet pasta dish and a bowl of sauced noodles.

While the pasta is cooking, make or warm your sauce in a wide pan on your stovetop. When the pasta is 1-2 minutes shy of being done, move it over to the sauce and finish cooking it there.

It only takes a couple of extra minutes, and you’ll love the difference it makes!

3. Not Using The Pasta Water

That salty, starchy pasta water can make a big difference in your finished dish! The starchiness will help add body to your sauce, and help the sauce stick to the noodles themselves.

You can either save a small amount of the pasta water to add to your sauce, or just make sure your noodles are still a bit wet when you transfer them over to your sauce.

4. Adding Oil To The Cooking Water

You don’t need to add oil to your pasta water. Some people do this to prevent long noodles from sticking together, but noodles are supposed to be sticky and starchy! (If they aren’t, the sauce won’t really adhere to them.)

And if you finish your pasta in the sauce, you won’t have to worry about the noodles sticking together anyway. So skip the oil!

5. Serving Pasta On A Plate

Even if you have a relatively thick pasta sauce, it’s still a good idea to serve pasta in a bowl instead of on a plate. The curved bowl will keep your pasta warmer for longer than a plate, and it usually makes it a bit easier to eat.

6. Not Waiting For The Water To Boil

I realize that as an impatient person myself, it’s a bit rich for me to be advocating for patience. But we should all be a bit more patient when it comes to bringing our pasta water to a boil!

If you add your noodles to the water before it starts boiling, it will take even longer to get it up to the boiling point. And until that happens, your noodles will just be steeping in warm water and their texture will likely suffer for it.

7. Putting Pasta In Your Garbage Disposal

Leftover pasta should go in your fridge, the trash can, or really anywhere other than your garbage disposal! Pasta expands considerably when wet, and anything that expands spells out bad news for a garbage disposal.

So avoid those potentially nasty clogs and expensive repairs by making your disposal a No Pasta Zone!

What’s the best pasta dish you’ve ever eaten?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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