Use ample water for cooking pasta – up to 6 quarts (6 L) water for 16 oz (500 g) of pasta. Add salt to water, if desired, as it will enhance the flavour. Do not add oil to water; it makes pasta slippery and sauce will not cling. Bring water to a boil, add pasta and stir until water returns to a boil. Cook pasta, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cook just until al dente (tender but firm). Do not overcook.
If you’re serving pasta with sauce, don’t rinse it. If you’re adding it to a salad or casserole, drain it, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and drain it again.
Serve pasta the moment it’s cooked. 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked short, shaped pasta (small shells, macaroni and bow ties) yields 2 cups (500 mL) cooked pasta. 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked noodles yields 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) cooked noodles.
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