How To Cook Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta

Farfalle is a very popular type of Italian pasta. Farfalle is the plural form of the Italian word farfalla, literally meaning butterfly (hence the name butterfly pasta). Also cravatta a farfalla means bow tie, and the shape of this type of pasta is indeed that of a shape of a bow tie. Thus farfalle pasta is often referred to as bow tie pasta in English. But do you know how to cook farfalle pasta? Or Bow tie pasta for that matter?

Follow these 7 easy steps below and your bow tie pasta will turn out delicious and perfect every time. I’ll also share some pro tips so that you never fail again making a yummy farfalle pasta dish.

What You Need

  • Large pot
  • Tongue or wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander
  • Farfalle pasta (or bow tie pasta or butterfly pasta)
  • Water
  • Salt

7 Steps To Cook Farfalle Pasta

  1. Boil water in a large pot. Use a very large pot for cooking farfalle pasta and bring the water up to a complete boil over high heat.
  2. Add a large amount of salt. Italians say that you should cook farfalle, any type of pasta for that matter, in water as salty as the sea. In practice, you should add 1-2% salt to your water. That means about 1/2-1 tbsp (10-20 g) of salt for each quart (liter) of water.
  3. Add farfalle pasta and set your timer. Add your bow tie pasta to the salty water and set your timer to the cooking time indicated in the packaging. You can set your heat to medium-low at this point.
  4. Stir in the first minute. Stir farfalle occasionally during the first minute of the cooking process. You don’t need to stir thenm after that.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes. Farfalle cooking time is indicated in the packaging and might slightly depend on the brand. But by cooking it for 10 minutes you couldn’t go wrong. See below for more tips.
  6. Drain the pasta Once cooked, drain farfalle pasta in a colander.
  7. Add sauce. If you want to avoid your bow tie pasta sticking together, transfer them into the sauce right after draining it and mix them.

Farfalle Cooking Time

Dry bow tie pasta cooking time is 10 minutes. For best results follow the time indicated in the packaging, but cooking dry farfalle pasta for 10 minutes will always work.

One pro tip is to taste farfalle 1-2 minutes before the indicated cooking time, and then every minute. This way you can adjust chewiness to your personal preferences.

Italian Tricks For Cooking Perfect Farfalle Pasta

The very first tip for cooking perfect farfalle pasta is to mix them with the sauce right after draining. This is the best way to stop them from sticking together, and this way your freshly cooked bow tie pasta will absorb the juices and liquids from the sauce. “The” tip to make finger-licking butterfly pasta dishes all the time.

Cook farfalle pasta in very salty water. Italians say the water should be as salty as the sea. This is about 3.8% in the Mediterranean, which I find pretty salty for cooking noodles. But you should still add 1-2% of salt to your water. This means about 1/2-1 tbsp (10-20 g) of salt for each quart (liter) of water.

Use a large quantity of water. A general rule of thumb is 1 liter per 100 g of farfalle. This means 4 1/2 quarts of water for a 16 oz pack of farfalle. But if you use a gallon of water (4 quarts or 4 liters) per pack of 16 ounces (500 g) farfalle, you can’t go wrong.

Can You Reheat Bow Tie Pasta?

You can easily reheat cooked bow tie pasta if they have not yet been mixed with the sauce. In fact this is the way Italian restaurants are able to serve fresh pasta in no time.

The process is simple. You pre-cook your farfalle and store them in a dry place. Right before serving it, you put your noodles back in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. You’ll get perfect fresh cooked bow tie pasta this way.

Farfalle, Bow Tie Pasta, Butterfly Pasta

There are several alternative names to this type of pasta, all meaning the same. All these names are based on the Italian word itself, and its usage in Italian as butterfly and bow tie.

  • Farfalle pasta
  • Bow tie pasta
  • Butterfly pasta
  • Bowtie pasta
Farfalle (bow tie, butterfly) pasta
Coocked farfalle pasta in colander

How To Cook Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta

Balazs Szilagyi
Make perfect farfalle (bow tie, butterfly) pasta every time
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Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 448 kcal


  • Large pot
  • Tongue or wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander


  • 1 pack dry farfalle pasta bow tie pasta, butterfly pasta
  • 4 quarts water 4 liters
  • 3 tbsp salt 60 g


  • Bring water up to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add salt to the water.
  • Add dry farfalle (bow tie, butterfly) pasta and set your timer to 10 minutes.
  • Stir during the first minute.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. No need to stir after the first minute.
  • Drain cooked farfalle pasta in a colander.
  • Mix with sauce and serve.


Farfalle pasta nutritional data is based on a 500 g pack of dry Barilla farfalle pasta.


Calories: 448kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 15.625gFat: 2.5gSaturated Fat: 0.625gFiber: 3.75g
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