Step 4: The Cooking Time
When the water starts bubbling, add the pasta and stir to avoid the pasta from sticking. If you are cooking fresh stuffed pasta, toss it gently into the boiling water.
Important. If you are cooking fresh pasta, add a tablespoon of oil to the water now. The oil prevents fresh pasta from sticking together. Do not add oil to the water if you are cooking dry pasta.
Stir the pasta occasionally.
The cooking time for fresh pasta. Fresh pasta cooks quickly, in about 3-5 minutes depending on its thickness and size.
The cooking time for dry pasta. The cooking time is indicated on the package of the dried pasta you are using and it varies from pasta to pasta.
When Is the Pasta Ready?
The pasta should be al dente, meaning that it’s soft enough to eat, but still has a bit of bite in the inside. This is how Italians like their pasta and the best way to determine when it's ready is by tasting it as it cooks.
If you are dressing your pasta with a fresh sauce that doesn't require further cooking (like pesto, fresh-cut tomatoes and mozzarella, or similar), scoop out a mugful of the starchy cooking water (just in case you need to add moisture to the sauce), drain the al dente pasta in a colander over the sink, add to the sauce, and serve.
If you are dressing your pasta with a cooked sauce that can be heated up (like tomato sauce, ragù, and similar) continue to the final step.