I want to thank Tammy of http://www.cookin-at-home.com/ for sharing these pasta tips with me:
How Much To Cook
Figure the average diner will eat about 1 cup of cooked pasta. Here are guidelines for cooking the right amount of dried pasta for a specific number of people:
8 ounces uncooked small to medium pasta (rotini, wagon wheels, bow ties, penne, ziti, elbow macaroni) = 4 cups cooked.
8 ounces uncooked long pasta (spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, fettuccine) = 1 1/2 inch diameter bunch = 4 cups cooked
8 ounces uncooked egg noodles = 2 1/2 cups cooked.
When buying refrigerated fresh pasta, plan on 3 ounces for each main-dish serving and 1 1/2 to 2 ounces for each side-dish serving. To use fresh pasta instead of dried pasta in a recipe, substitute 6 to 8 ounces of refrigerated fresh pasta for 4 ounces of dried pasta.
Cooking Perfect Pasta:
When cooking purchased dried pasta, check the package directions because cooking times for brands vary.
Whichever brand you buy, follow these tips:
Don't skimp on the cooking water. For 16 ounces of pasta, use 4 to 6 quarts of water in a large pot. This may look like a lot, but pasta needs to move freely in the boiling water so the strands or pieces don't stick together.
Cover the pot to bring the water quickly to boiling. Keep the water boiling by adding the pasta slowly. Cook the pasta uncovered while maintaining a rolling boil.
Drain cooked pasta in a colander and shake it well to get rid of excess water. Skip the rinse; rinsing removes the light coating of starch that covers the surface of each piece of pasta. That coating helps the sauce and seasonings cling. Rinse, using cool water, only if you plan to fill or layer the pasta or use the pasta in a salad.
Pasta continues to cook even after draining. Serve pasta immediately or it will become too soft. To keep pasta warm for a few minutes before serving, use one of the following suggestions:
Return the drained, cooked pasta to the warm cooking pan. Stir in any additional ingredients or toss pasta with a little butter to help prevent it from sticking together. (If you add oil to the cooking water, it is not necessary to add more oil.) Cover and let the pasta stand for no more than 15 minutes.
Fill a serving bowl with hot water and let it stand for a few minutes. Empty and dry the bowl; add the hot pasta and cover. Serve the pasta within 5 minutes.
Thanks again Tammy!!