How to Cook Pasta
In a pot filled with water, done! Not quite. It is that simple yes, but there are a couple points to consider for proper pasta cooking technique.
First, the pot, make sure its a good size pot. At least an 8 qt size stainless steel pot, because your going to want about 6 qts of water to cook your pasta in if cooking 1 lb. Pasta likes to move around while cooking, if the pot is too small, and you put too much pasta in the pot, in won't be able to circulate and you will end up with unevenly cooked pasta. If you think that a pot that size is too expensive, find yourself a used restaurant supply store, and you can usually pick one up for around $10 - $20. Keep in mind it will need a good scrubbing when you get home, but that's where I got mine, and they easily last as long, if not longer, as the $200 pot.
2nd, salt the water, you should add about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per 2 qts of water added, the water should taste like the sea as its said. This is imperative, salt seasons the pasta while it is cooking. If this sounds like a bit much, you can dial back the salt to where you like, but try this first and see what you think, then adjust your recipe from there the next time.
***there is no need to add olive oil to your water. All your doing is wasting perfectly good olive oil if you do. Now, I know, some people say it keeps the pasta from sticking, trust me, my dad tells me all the time! Let me tell you, if your pasta is sticking, that means you are most likely cooking too much pasta in not enough water. Remember, pasta like to move while cooking, if it can't move it will stick, get a bigger pot or cook less pasta per batch. Also, you should only ever cook 1 lb of pasta at a time.
3rd after the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta, making sure to save a cup or two of the water from the pot before draining. You should also have whatever sauce you are adding to the pasta, warmed up, in a pan on the stove. Take your pasta and a 1/2 cup of the reserved water you cooked the pasta in, and add them to the pan with the sauce, turn the heat to medium, - high heat and keep the pasta moving, your not trying to saute the pasta, the heat from the stove, and the starch from the water will help the sauce emulsify, and adhere to the pasta. Pasta and sauce should be one thing, not separate. This process will take 1 - 3 minutes at the most. Be patient and you will be rewarded!
Now, plate up, grate some parmigiano-reggiano over the top, and mangia mangia!
Tagliatelle: 4 - 6 Min
Chitarra: 10 - 12 Min
Pappardelle: 5 - 7 Min
Garganelli: 8 Min
Maltagliati: 6 - 8 Min
Vegan Tagliatelle: 4 - 6 Min
Spinach Tagliatelle: 4 - 6 Min
Strichetti: 7 - 8 Min
Note: Due to our air drying technique, although the pasta is dry, it is not as devoid of moisture as conventional dried pasta so it does not take as much time to reconstitute through the cooking process. The times specified above are for al-dente.