Pasta should always be cooked just before serving. The dry pasta should be added to a large pan of boiling water, salted to taste. Allow 2 pints of water per 4 oz pasta, or 1 litre of water per 100 g pasta.
Different thicknesses and shapes of pasta require slightly different cooking times, so check the manufacturers' instructions and test the pasta two minutes and one minute before the cooking time is up. It should be firm to the bite, but not hard. If overcooked it will become a soft and sticky mass.
Drain the pasta and then return to the pan. Toss the cooked pasta with a little olive oil, enough to separate the strands, then toss it again with the chosen sauce and serve immediately.
The long, thin, round pasta such as spaghetti and vermicelli are traditionally served with a thin, olive oil based sauce. The long flat pasta such as tagliatelle are served with thicker and richer sauces, and the short tubular pasta need a thinner sauce that will flow into the tubes.
Sauces on page ZZZ can be served with pasta, or used as dips with crudites or served on bread or as a filling for sandwiches.