To save a few minutes when you’re cooking pasta, put the lid on the pot when you bring the water to a boil. This will shave about 3 to 5 minutes off the time it takes for the water to boil. Make sure that the water comes to a full rolling boil over high heat before you add the pasta. There’s no need to add oil to prevent the pasta from sticking—
just keep the water at a rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir with a pasta fork. Start timing the cooking when the water returns to a full rolling boil. If you use fresh pasta, remember that it cooks faster than dried pasta.
Start testing for doneness a few minutes before the indicated cooking time. To test doneness, remove a few strands from the water, and cut into the pasta with a fork. Pasta that offers resistance, but has no trace of brittleness is called “al dente”, and this is how you want it. If an undercooked piece of pasta is cut in half, you’ll see a white dot or line clearly visible in the center. Al dente pasta has only a speck of white remaining.