Perfect Pasta

FYI @Jesse did a great list about cooking spaghetti, and you can see a good video of pasta cooking on Jamie Oliver's site http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/how-to-cook-perfect-pasta-gennaro-contaldo/
  1. 1.
    Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
    Use 5 quarts of water per 1 pound of pasta. Salt liberally, with about 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Don't worry, you won't actually consume all of the salt – it's just necessary for getting flavor into the very plain pasta while it cooks.
  2. 2.
    Add your pasta to the boiling water.
    Don't you dare break it apart before you put it in. If your pasta is too long for the pot, add it slowly until it softens enough to bend and fit in.
  3. 3.
    Once all your pasta has been added, give it several good stirs.
    This is very important, because the first two minutes of cooking is the time when the pasta is most likely to start sticking, since all of the starches have yet to be released into the water. You'll want to go back and stir the pasta periodically throughout cooking, to keep it from sticking throughout cooking. If you do this, there is no reason to add oil to the water.
  4. 4.
    Briefly place the lid back on the pot to return the water to a boil.
    Adding the pasta lowers the temperature of the water, and it's important to bring it back to a boil. It should only take a minute or so for boiling to resume. As soon as it does, remove the lid.
  5. 5.
    Cook for the duration suggested on the package directions.
    The directions generally call for an amount of time that will yield pasta that is al dente, which is ideal.
  6. 6.
    Once the pasta is cooked, scoop out one or two cups of the starchy cooking water and reserve it.
    Reserved pasta water is a magical ingredient because it contains essential starches that will be clutch for adjusting the consistency of your sauce. Don't skip this step.
  7. 7.
    Quickly drain the pasta into a colander in the sink (or if you have one of those pots with a colander insert, lift out the pasta that way)
    DO NOT RINSE! Rinsing cools the pasta and prevents absorption of sauce.
  8. 8.
    Warm your sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat and add your pasta.
    Toss together and add some of the reserved pasta water to thin out if needed. Cook for about 2 minutes Add a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Toss gently.
  9. 9.
    Serve!