Cooking the perfect pasta is the easiest thing to do, but you have to follow 10 simple rules:
1) Always use Italian pasta. When you are cooking something very simple, as pasta, the ingredients play the most important role. So, always chose the best quality. If you want to prepare Spaghetti alla Carbonara or Linguine ai Frutti di Mare just remember that if you are looking for perfection you need Italian pasta.
2) Use the right amount of water: 1 litre of water each 100 grams of pasta. It could seems a lot of water, but pasta absorbs a large amount of water while cooking and if you use less water your pasta will be sticky.
3) The heat: at maximum.
4) Use the right amount of salt: 1 tablespoon each 2 litres of water. In Italy usually you would find coarse salt, but I know that is more difficult to find it in the other countries. You can replace it with table salt. You should add the salt when the water is boiling and before adding the pasta.
5) Always add pasta when the water is boiling and after you put the salt.
6) Stir from time to time. If you don’t do it pasta will stick to the bottom of the pot and eventually it will burn.
7) Always follow the recommended cooking time and check. One minute before the time’s up, check the pasta. If you think that you did not put enough salt you still have the time for adding some. When the time’s up, check again. Now pasta should be ready, but if you still fill it hard cook it one or two minutes more. But be careful, the perfect pasta is “al dente”, which means that you have to fill its texture when you chew it.
8) Drain it. Do not put cold water on it (I have seen some people doing so, crazy!).
9) Dress it with your favourite sauce. Just after you drain the pasta dress it with the sauce, if you wait the pasta will stick together.
10) Serve immediately! Pasta is not a dish that you can prepare in advance. The moment that it is ready the moment you have to serve it. If you leave it aside, pasta will start to absorb the liquid of the sauce and will lose its texture becoming too soft.