How to Prepare Perfect Pasta
To prepare perfect pasta, follow the package directions to ensure that enough water is used for cooking the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (tender but still a little firm to the bite), stirring frequently. To prevent pasta from sticking to the pan, add it slowly to plenty of boiling water and stir frequently while cooking. Adding oil to the cooking water is not recommended because some sauces may not cling to pasta coated with oil.
Some cooks prefer to drain the pasta well to prevent excess water from diluting the sauce, while others like a little moisture to help prevent pasta from sticking together. In any case, reserve a few tablespoons of cooking water to add to pasta if it starts to stick together or if you want to dilute the sauce.
Prepare Pasta for Salads
To prepare pasta for salads, cook and drain pasta, then remove excess starch from the pasta by rinsing it with cold running water. lasagna noodles, shells or other pasta used for filling and baking can also be rinsed under cold water to cool slightly for easier handling.