The colander insert you find along with pasta pots is supposed to make draining the pasta much easier than holding the pot over a sink. Instead of trying to simultaneously drain the water and stop the pasta from falling into the sink, all you have to do is lift up the colander insert. The pasta pot itself is just a large pot to which the colander insert is specifically fitted.
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Place the pot on a stove burner or element that is approximately the same size as the bottom of the pasta pot.
Fill the pot with water. Use the amount in the directions on the package or, if you don’t want to measure the water, pour in some and, after adding the colander and spaghetti and getting it to bend around the bottom of the pot, pour in enough water to cover to twice or three times the height of the spaghetti sitting in the water. You just want to ensure there’s enough so that the spaghetti won’t stick out of the water as it cooks and expands.
Turn on the burner or element to high, or to whatever setting will boil the water.
Place the colander insert on a plate or paper towel. Add the spaghetti to the insert. Wait for the water to boil.
Place the colander insert and spaghetti in the pot. The insert will either rest on the bottom of the pot or along the rim, depending on the model.
Let the water come back to a boil. As you do this, push the spaghetti down and around the bottom of the pot so that it is completely submerged. Push the top ends down with a large spoon. The spaghetti will become more flexible as it begins to absorb water. Alternately, you can break the spaghetti in half before adding it to the insert. If you haven’t already finished adding water to the pot, do so now before the water in the pot returns to a boil.
Turn down the flame or element heat so that the water simmers.
Wait for the amount of time specified on the spaghetti package. If you’ve bought your spaghetti from a store’s bulk department and don’t have packaging, cooking time is usually around eight to 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off when the pasta is done. What constitutes “done” is really a matter of preference; some like spaghetti to be slightly chewy -- “al dente” -- while others prefer very soft, pliable spaghetti.
Grab the handles of the colander insert with potholders -- the metal will be hot, so be careful.
Lift the colander up and completely out of the water, but keep it over the pot. Let the water drain out. Shake the colander a little to make excess droplets fall off the spaghetti strands.
Tip the colander insert over a serving bowl, and pour in the spaghetti.