Cooking Preparation: Pasta by the pound. 1. Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil. 2. Before pasta, add approx. 1/4-cup salt, never oil. 3. Add pasta to water and stir. 4. To bring water back up to a boil, cover with lid. 5. Once boiling, remove lid, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook for approx. 8 minutes. 6. Drain (never rinse) and immediately toss with desired sauce in a saucepan. 7. Cook together for about 2 minutes on high heat to marry flavors, and serve. Tips for: Perfect pasta. Cooking pasta is not an exact science. Continually check your pasta for al dente texture. Remove pasta from water just before it is done, as it will continue to cook once drained. Save 1-2 cups of pasta water to enhance your sauces. For oil-based sauces, adding pasta water smoothes & loosens sauce to help coat pasta. For red sauces, adding pasta water helps to extend thicker sauces.