1. Use Plenty of Water—or Stir Often As pasta boils, it leaches starches into the cooking water, which can cause the noodles to stick together. The easiest way to cut down on sticking is to boil pasta in a generous amount of water—4 quarts per pound of dried pasta—to dilute the starches. However, if you don’t have a pot large enough for all the water, you can reduce the water by half and stir the pasta frequently during cooking.
2. Salt the Water - Salting the cooking water ensures that seasoning gets into the pasta, not just on it. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to 4 quarts of water (or 1½ teaspoons to 2 quarts), making sure to stir well so that the salt will dissolve.
3. Skip the Oil -Since it merely sits on top of the cooking water, adding a splash of olive oil to the pot before adding the pasta doesn’t prevent the pasta from sticking together as it cooks—though it may help keep the water from boiling over. To prevent the pasta from sticking together, simply stir it for a minute or two after adding it to the boiling water.
4. Reserve Some Water Before draining the pasta-, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, which is flavorful, somewhat salty, and starchy. It can be used to loosen a thick sauce without diluting the sauce’s body or flavor as much as plain water would.
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