1. Italy vs the rest of the world
Pasta is Italy’s staple food and Italians arrogate the knowledge of preparing it. Or you cook it ‘al dente’ or you are a barbarian. The pasta sanctuary is heavily guarded and agents roam the world to find bad examples to complain about. You better watch out!
2. Al dente
This is what Italians insist upon most: have you pasta al dente, to the teeth. An easier description is ‘not fully cooked’. How do you do that? Start by reading the cooking instructions. Never exceed the cooking time. When removed from the water, the pasta continues to cook. A matter of timing, a matter of trial and error. And no throwing it against the wall. Not even out of frustration.
3. Draining pasta
Don’t drain you pasta in a colander, or at least save some of the water. This is going to be the glue that makes the sauce stick to the pasta. Starch is excellent food thickener. And adding the right amount to cooked pasta, you obtain that creaminess without having to fall back on cream.
Rinsing fresh boiled pasta stops the cooking process and cools your pasta down. Both are utterly useless: pasta is supposed to be warm and eaten straight away.
5. I'm sticking to you
If your pasta tends to stick while boiling, you either use too little water or don’t stir enough. Adding oil to the water does not work, since it coats the pasta and doesn’t allow it to blend with the sauce.