Despite the low-carb madness of recent years, I love pasta. No matter the dish- linguini with cream sauce, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, capellini primavera, I love them all- the most important element is how you actually cook the pasta. How frustrating is it when you cook spaghetti but then it turns into that sticky tangle in the strainer?
Two cooking techniques to avoid sticky pasta: 1. Use lots of water (5 quarts of water to every pound of pasta) to dilute the starch released during cooking and to keep the noodles separated.
2. Add a little lemon juice to the boiling water. Most municipal water companies add calcium and magnesium to tap water (giving it a mineral taste frequently called "hard water") to prevent pipe corrosion. While this treated city tap water is fine to drink, the alkaline pH of the water breaks down the noodle surface much faster than neutral or slightly acidic water. Lemon juice balances out the pH of the water and reduces stickiness.
If you're not going to eat the pasta immediately, you can also toss the noodles with olive oil to prevent sticking.