You may have been eating out a lot lately, and no matter how many times you look the other way, you just cannot pass by your favourite Italian restaurant without dreaming of that plate of pasta. Can’t stop craving that perfect bite? Here, we show you how to make restaurant-style pasta, at home. Just follow these 5 tips below and you'll be your own favourite pasta chef. But you can always do more than what has been given to you here to make your pasta restaurant-style! It might take a while to practice, and adjust to your personal style, but who knows what you might gain from it. Your personal recipe may just be even better than any other restaurant's secret!  

1. How to choose the pasta  

Photo: Heather Gill

Feeling bloated after the last batch of pasta you cooked? It must be due to the bad quality of pasta. Here’s what to buy — 

You should make use of pasta that has been slow-dried. This means that the pasta has been allowed plenty of time to dry, as opposed to the mass-produced variety which is dried quickly and as a consequence, turns brittle. The slow-dried pasta allows you to easily digest the starch.  

2.  How to boil pasta  

Photo: Mor Shani

You should aim for perfectly cooked pasta, and these two hacks below ensure that you’ll cook the pasta al dente, which means “to the bite”.  

    •    There is no need to rinse the pasta. It may wash off the starch which allows the sauce to stick to the pasta.

    •    If you want restaurant-style pasta, then remember that boiling pasta is the most crucial step in the process. You should fill at least three-fourths of the pot with cold water. Anything less will not do, as the ratio of water to pasta should be high.  

    •    Not all of the pasta must be cooked in the pot. Remember to transfer the pasta to the saucepan as soon as it starts to soften up. One way to know when the pasta shall soften up is to read the cooking time behind the packaging, but to remove the pasta from the pot five to six minutes before that cooking time. Then you need to put the pasta in the sauce so that it continues to cook.

    •    Remember that you have to put the pasta in the boiling water at a certain point — that is, you have to bring the water to a boil, then add the salt and finally add pasta. There is no need to add anything else in the water, except salt, when the water begins to bubble.

    •    A lot of people might add olive oil in the pot because it is believed that it adds flavour to pasta, or ensures the pasta does not stick together. But please refrain. Doing so will make it tougher for the sauce to stick to the pasta.  

3.  How to make the sauce

Photo: Heather Ford

The tip for making a good old bowl of pasta sauce is to use as less ingredients as you can. Some restaurants prefer to make a pasta sauce that is super thick and creamy. But there are other places that like to keep it light and simple. Here, we’ll tell you how to make a light and healthy red pasta sauce. Craving alfredo sauce? You can make something creamy and healthy — we’ve got you covered!  

    •    In order to make red pasta sauce, you only need 3 ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil and smashed garlic. While cooking the sauce, smash the tomatoes in the saucepan with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Once the tomatoes are slightly mushy, add a pinch of sugar, butter and basil. You should only bring the sauce to a boil after adding the pasta. This is true for homemade as well as store-bought sauce.  

    •    As far as alfredo sauce is concerned, you can eliminate the carbs by making yourself a sauce with a vegetable instead! By cutting down the quantity of cream required, you can get all the benefits of a healthy pasta dish. A lot of the times, people follow the classic recipe of an alfredo sauce, but simply tone down the quantities of cream and cheese, and substitute them with cauliflower.

4.  How to cook the pasta Photo: Mor Shani

This is where you add the pasta to the saucepan in which the pasta sauce is cooking. Alternatively, you can transfer them in a skillet which apparently helps cook pasta in a better way.  

    •    Just as you shouldn’t rinse pasta at the beginning, you shouldn’t have to rinse the boiled pasta under cold water. This will ruin all the efforts you’ve made thus far to bring a stellar dish together. Transfer the pasta directly into a saucepan or a skillet.  

    •    While the pasta and sauce cook together, add some pasta water. This will simmer the sauce down and help the two to bind together. The pasta will soak in the flavours while it cooks. 

5. How to do the finishing touches  

Photo: Eaters Collective 

This is the end. This is where you plate. What do you do? 

    •    Go for simple hacks. You can add parmesan cheese on top, but you may also put some toasted breadcrumbs and a fresh basil leaf.  

 We hope that you enjoyed these tips!