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Whenever I boil pasta (specifically spaghetti), it always sticks to itself before I'm ready to use it. What can I do to avoid this without it becoming mushy (which happens if I keep it in the water)?

Of course, if I happen to have the sauce done by the time the pasta is ready and am ready to serve it, I can immediately add the sauce and it's a moot point. But I inevitably screw up the timing and have the pasta sitting there cooling, and then it becomes impossible to separate...

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    @hobodave, not sure it's a duplicate of that question as this is specifically aimed at adding oil to the water to prevent it from sticking, not just how to prevent it from sticking, by whatever means. Not sure I'm that into it as a question though... – Sam Holder Aug 2 '10 at 12:29
  • yea, just think it's close enough. this question is answered in that one. – hobodave Aug 2 '10 at 14:01
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    This is really hard to choose an answer. I am one of the few Americans who do understand al dente, so my particular problem was actually solved by getting higher quality pasta. It turns out it really makes a difference! But, in the interest of spreading the knowledge of how long to properly cook pasta, I will accept @tunnuz's answer as it is probably the correct solution for most people. – Lee Jul 12 '12 at 8:36
  • You can just rinse it with cold water to keep it from sticking – Huangism Jan 27 '15 at 14:03

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Just cook the pasta a couple minutes later. I can't think of a sauce that couldn't sit there for a couple of minutes while the pasta finishes, should you mess up the timing. Even reduced cream sauces, you can always add a little pasta water should the sauec over-thicken.

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