Dried spaghetti noodles need to cook in a pot of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are al dente. Fresh pasta cooks more quickly and only requires 1 to 3 minutes in boiling water.
When cooking 4 to 8 ounces of dried spaghetti noodles 3 quarts of water is needed. A pinch of salt can be added to the water for seasoning or olive oil, which helps prevent the pasta from sticking together or becoming clumpy.
The pasta should not be placed into the water until it has reached a full boil. The noodles should be added a little bit at a time to ensure the water does not stop boiling. Pasta should be cooked uncovered, and the heat can be slightly reduced if needed to avoid the water from boiling over.
Spaghetti noodles that are cooked properly will have a firm texture, but not hard. Pasta that has been cooked too long becomes soggy and will stick together. Undercooked pasta will have a hard center.
Once pasta has finished cooking it needs to be placed in a colander, and excess water needs to time to drain. Pasta should not be rinsed with water. Marinara sauce should be added as soon as the pasta has drained.