Angel hair pasta, also known as capellini or capellini d'angelo, is a thin, delicate pasta that cooks quickly. When cooked correctly, it's light and flavorful and can be paired with tomato, pesto or garlic sauce, either as a side dish or main course. Cook it too long, however, and you'll end up with a gummy, sticky mess. By learning the difference between al dente and overcooked pasta, you'll cook angel hair pasta just right every time.
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Boil together a large pot of water and a small pinch of salt. Cooking in a smaller pot will cause the pasta to stick together, because it doesn't have enough room to spread out. Use 4 to 6 oz. of water per pound of angel hair pasta.
Place the pasta into the boiling water and add a few drops of olive oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Cook the pasta for three to five minutes and stir the water occasionally. If you are using the angel hair in another recipe that requires cooking it, remove the pasta one or two minutes before it is done.
Pull one piece of pasta out of the water carefully with a fork. Rinse it off with cool water, then take a bite. If the pasta is tender but still has a small amount of bite to it, it's done. If it's still crunchy, cook it for an extra minute.
Pour the water and pasta into a colander to drain out the water. If you are adding sauce to the pasta, do not rinse it. If you are serving the pasta cold or letting it sit for more than a few minutes, rinse it with cool water.
Add the pasta to your favorite sauce. Toss the angel hair in thin tomato sauce, pesto sauce, garlic sauce or plain olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve.