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Stir pasta as soon as it is dropped into the boiling water and keep stirring every minute or so. Never add oil which will coat the pasta and cause it to repel instead of absorb the sauce. Oil would be needed if you are using a low quality pasta since the cheaper wheat would make it much easier for the strands to get glued together. Let the pasta cook on a lively fire stirring it every now and then. Be careful of the cooking time: on italian packages it is usually correct. Better to stop cooking a few seconds sooner than later since the paste will in any case continue cooking for a little while after you drain it. How do you know the pasta is cooked? Well if you do not have a cooking time on the pasta package just sample a strand of the pasta. Break it and see if the inside is still whitish.
Still someone should stir the pasta frequently to best achieve even cooking. Different pasta takes longer times to cook so cooking time does rely upon individual s tastes. To create perfect pasta make sure you confirm the cooking time which is printed over the pasta s packaging. Failing that you can always taste test the pasta during the cooking process. You have reached a great cooking point when the pasta is soft to touch and yet still firm in the middle. By cooking your pasta in using this method you have created "al dente" pasta. When it s time to drain the pasta leave two tablespoons of cooking water within the pot with the pasta. This may allow you some breathing room to dilute sauces if need be. If you re planning on adding sauces to your pasta then coat them lightly only after sufficiently warming the sauce. Remember you are able to always reheat the pasta in the cooking pot after adding sauces to ensure you get a regular heat. Many people tend not to realise the pasta will still cook long after it is drained so serving quickly is best advised. If you intend on making pasta salad dishes then after draining the pasta coat it in a little olive oil. Then allow it to cool whilst stirring regularly. Once the past has cooled then you can add additional sauces and serve. The beauty of preparing pasta is that all you need is boiling water. Even if you only have one pan you can still make a plethora of incredible pasta dishes just by boiling or cooking pasta properly. The proper way is of course Al Dente: firm just slightly crunchy. Yes slightly crunchy. Pasta s incredible nutty flavor can only be achieved if it is cooked extra firm. I know I know this might be foreign to most people but once you have tasted pasta which is truly Al Dente you will understand why Italians adore pasta. So the essential thing is boiling water.
Bring it back to the boil as quickly as possible after the pasta is added and keep it boiling until the pasta is done. Do not put a lid on the pan. Salt is important in cooking pasta. The water must be well seasoned with salt for pasta. Without salt you pasta will be bland and dull. Some people like to add oil to the water. They believe that this will stop the pasta sticking together. This is not true because the oil stays on the surface of the water and does not touch the pasta. But oil can help to prevent the foam that is produced when cooking pasta from boiling over the side of the pan. Most packets of pasta have a cooking time printed on them. Treat this as a rough guide only. You must judge whether or not the pasta is done by touch. Lift out a piece of pasta from the boiling pan and squeeze it between the nails of your thumb and forefinger.