Spaghetti should be in every home cook’s repertoire. Here’s how long you should cook it for.
Spaghetti is the perfect weeknight dish. It can be dressed up or down, and it’s one of our favorites, namely because it’s pretty difficult to mess up. All you have to do is bring water to a boil in a Stock Pot, add your pasta, strain (save that pasta water), and mix in a sauce. But if you’re cooking pasta, whether that’s spaghetti, penne, bucatini, or anything in between, you may be wondering how long you should cook it for. Thankfully, we have an answer for you.
The answer depends on what brand of pasta you’re cooking. Most boxes will have cooking instructions on the side of the bag, but as a general rule, dried spaghetti takes around 9 to 12 minutes to cook. However, we recommend trying a piece after 8 minutes and seeing if it’s done. Place it somewhere to let it cool for a moment before you taste it. And if you really want, try throwing it against the wall. If it sticks, it’s done. This method is not recommended for other types of pasta like penne.
If you’re planning on cooking spaghetti in a sauce after, we recommend taking it out when it’s almost done, around 1-2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time. This is because the pasta will continue to cook once you add it to the sauce, and so if it’s perfectly cooked before you add it, it will end up overcooked.
Cooking fresh spaghetti is a little trickier. It can be finished in as little as two minutes. We recommend testing it once a piece once it floats to the top. Similarly with dried spaghetti, if you’re planning to finish your pasta in its sauce, we recommend straining it slightly before it is perfectly cooked.
Al Dente spaghetti is our favorite way to cook pasta. In Italian, it translates to “firm to the tooth,” as it has a firmer texture and more of a bite. To accomplish this, simply cook your pasta for less time, about 2-3 minutes less.
In Chef Tracy Malechek’s recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese, she creates a rich and hearty sauce to cover her perfectly cooked noodles. Best of all, it comes together in just 45 minutes.