How to Cook Pasta al dente
Pasta has to remain firm and not hard, and it is definitely NOT meant to be soft. Eating overcooked pasta is a terrible experience.
Italians can be quite “obsessive” about their pasta and I am no different… For the best results, it is important that you cook it the right way. No matter how great your sauce is or how expensive your pasta is, if you over cook (or under cook) the meal is ruined.
First choose the right pot: Long pasta like spaghetti or linguine, choose a taller pot and for short pasta like penne, ziti and such. use a normal size pot. Fill it up to 3/4 with water. Put it on the stove and add a big pinch of salt. When the water starts a rapid boil add the pasta , add a splash of olive oil to the water so that the pasta doesn't stick. Stir it well and often while cooking. Cook for as long as the package says to get “pasta al dente”. I usually have to taste a piece of pasta (sometimes a few times) to check its consistency (not to hard) . When you use Imported Italian pasta, the instructions are usually right on target. A sign that shows you have incorrectly cooked your pasta is if it starts breaking usually over cooked especially in Ziti type pasta and if you have not added enough water or not stirred well enough it will clump together and needs to be discarded ...no saving at this point! .
When the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander (do not rinse it) and serve it HOT with the sauce!. Eat it immediately… pasta is meant to be eaten hot … haha unless you are having a cold pasta salad (where the onl time you would rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process)