Long, thin pasta
that's typically thicker than vermicelli
but thinner than linguine
. Unlike the flatter linguine
has a circular cross-section
To cook spaghetti, first boil water in a large pot. You should be able to put the spaghetti into the pot diagonally and still keep it below the rim. When the water is boiling violently, scatter the spaghetti into it so as to avoid clumps that stick together. (Some people add salt to the water to raise the boiling point of the water. However, it raises the boiling point so minutely that there's little benefit. Others add oil to prevent clumping, but if you stir the pasta it shouldn't be a problem.)
At this point you may wish to heat some sort of sauce. Pesto is yummy, especially when made fresh. This goes for alfredo sauce too. You can melt some butter and saute garlic and parsley. But spaghetti sauce in a jar or can is also nice, and will suffice. A saucepan would be appropriate here.
Stir the boiling pasta and, if the starch causes the water to begin to boil over, blow on the bubbles to calm them. Hey, it worked for Michael Jackson. When the pasta is clearly flaccid, fish out a strand to test it for doneness. The two most common tests are:
- Bite it. If it seems tender to the teeth, then it is done al dente ("to the teeth").
- Throw it at the wall. Seriously. If it sticks, then the pasta is cooked. Either way, it's fun.
Pour the boiling water and the spaghetti into a colander or strainer. Again, customs differ on this point, but some people rinse their spaghetti to remove the starch. I do not. I like my pasta hot, and even hot tap water will cool it. I also hold with those who say that spaghetti sauce (or pesto, or garlic and butter) is absorbed more easily into unrinsed pasta. Speaking of which: pour the drained pasta into a serving dish and put the sauce on top. The sauce will then mingle with the spaghetti and, if you haven't rinsed it too much, will actually get soaked up into the pasta. Yum! Adding a grated hard salty cheese such as Parmesan or Romano at this point is optional.